In the closest race in the event’s history, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono held on to edge two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in a sprint finish, surging clear mere steps away from the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes 57 seconds.
Desisa, who won in 2015 and 2013, the year the race was marred by a bombing at the finish line, eased up after realizing he was beaten and finished 2 seconds back. Kenneth Kipkemoi was third, another 8 seconds behind, one of seven Kenyans in the top 10.
It was Cherono’s first victory in the Boston Marathon after winning races in Seville, Prague, Honolulu and twice in Amsterdam but never in a major marathon before.
In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa broke away from defending champion Des Linden and the rest of the pack in the Framingham flats and ran alone for the last 20 miles to claim the $150,000 first prize and a gilded olive wreath from Marathon.
The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who set a national record while finishing second in Dubai less than three months ago, won in 2:23:31. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, reducing a gap of more than two minutes to 42 seconds at the finish.
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