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Monday, April 15, 2013
Rita Jeptoo wins 2nd Boston title

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Editor's note: This story was posted before explosions occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and reflect only the results of the race. For more information on the explosions Click here.

BOSTON -- Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the women's race in the 117th edition of the Boston Marathon on Monday for the second time.

Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, finished in 2:26:25 for her first win in a major race since taking two years off after having a baby.

Rita Jeptoo
Rita Jeptoo (center, in orange) broke away from the pack, winning the Boston Marathon by 33 seconds.

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia took the men's title, winning a three-way sprint down Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds.

After a series of close finishes in the women's race -- five consecutive years with 3 or fewer seconds separating the top two -- Jeptoo had a relatively comfortable 33-second lead over Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia, with defending champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya another 3 seconds back.

Shalane Flanagan, of nearby Marblehead, was fourth in the women's division in her attempt to earn the first American victory in Boston since 1985. (Two-time winner Joan Benoit Samuelson, running on the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory, finished in 2:50:29 to set a world record for her age group.)

"The hardest part about Boston is the Bostonians want it just as bad as we do, which really tugs at our heart," said Flanagan, a three-time Olympian. "We all want it too. We want to be the next Joanie."

Kara Goucher, of Portland, Ore., was sixth for her third top 10 finish in Boston as many tries. The last American woman to win here was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in '85; Greg Meyer was the last U.S. man to win, in 1983.

"There's just more pure numbers of African runners," said Goucher, who noted that the field of five American women with personal bests under 2:30 was the strongest in years.

"That's a good team of American women," she said. "One day the opportunity is going to be there."

Jeptoo is the third straight Kenyan woman to win and the 15th East African winner in the past 17 years on the women's side.

Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach, who won in 1985, is the last American champion; Meyer was the last American man to break the tape.

A year after heat approaching 90 degrees sent record numbers of participants in search of medical help, temperatures in the high 40s greeted the field of 24,662 at the start in Hopkinton. It climbed to 54 degrees by the time the winners reached Copley Square in Boston.

Japan's Hiroyuki Yamamoto was the first winner of the day, cruising to victory in the men's wheelchair race by 39 seconds over nine-time champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa. Tatyana McFadden, a Russian orphan who attends the University of Illinois, won the women's race.

Race day got started with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A little more than 2 hours later, the lead runners went past the Mile 26 marker, which has been decorated with the Newtown, Conn., seal and dedicated to the memory of those killed there.

The 53 wheelchair competitors left Hopkinton at 9:17 a.m., followed 15 minutes later by the 51 elite women. The men were underway at 10 a.m., followed by three waves that over the next 40 minutes would send the entire field of 27,000 on its way to Copley Square.

Last year's race came under the hottest sustained temperatures on record. About 2,300 runners took organizers up on the offer to sit that one out and run this year instead.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.