NAIROBI, Kenya, April 15- Rita Jeptoo rolled back the years to claim her second women’s title as Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa dethroned Cherangany MP, Wesley Korir in the men’s race during the 117th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Jeptoo, who won for the first time here in 2006, launched a sustained sprint in the closing kilometres to reel in race leader Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal before charging clear to take the honours in 2:26:25.
“Boston is a really tough race. Last year I was not ready but this year I trained hard and was ready and I decided to go. I’m happy today.
“I don’t know whether she was in the lead. I was thinking I was the first and at 36km, I saw somebody in front and I decided to do something. I was very strong after 35km and I decided to go the way I was training in Kenya,” the excited winner told organisers after the race.
Ethiopian Meseret Hailu (2:26:58) and outgoing titleholder, Sharon Cherop (2:27:01) completed the podium behind the 32-year-old winner whose career in recent seasons has been derailed by injury and maternal duties.
Starting at a pedestrian pace, Colombian runner Yolanda Carballero took early command and established a 32 second lead at half way point before first Diana Sigei who pulled alongside and ultimately Felix took over and stretched the field by more than 34 seconds at the 18 Mile mark.
As soon as they descended the notorious Heart Break Hill, the chasing pack that had Jeptoo, Hailu, Cherop and home favourite, Sharlene Flanagan began bearing down on the Portuguese.
With Jeptoo leading and Hailu in close attendance, Felix was swallowed before the Kenyan opened up her strides to seal in a memorable victory that announces her return to the high table of women’s marathon running.
In the corresponding men’s race, all eyes were on Cherangany MP, Korir, who made history as the first sitting legislator to feature at the event.
Social media went abuzz with contributors urging his fellow MPs who are pressing for a pay hike to follow in his example and race for a living.
A pack of 11 runners hit the front from the start and went about the race in pedestrian pace before Canadian Robben Watson made a move for the lead shortly before the halfway mark.
Dickson Chumba then injected a killer burst that split the leaders into a group of staggered five as Korir fell back only to work his way up to the frontrunners when the pace slackened.
His attempt to force the issue was countered by Ethiopian pair Lelisa and Gebre Gebremariam who were joined by former world 10K record holder, Micah Kogo, who was marking his full marathon debut.
Soon, it was between Lelisa, Gebre and Kogo with 2km left and the speedy 23-year-old underlined his growing reputation as a marathoner to watch when he arrived unchallenged at the tape in 2:10:22.
“When we were three runners, I decided to push for the finish line since I knew I had the sprint. The course was good,” Lelisa told organisers.
Kogo capped his maiden marathon bow with a memorable second after holding off the 2009 New York Marathon winner Gebre (2:10:28) in the sprint for the finish with 2:10:27 on the clock.
Korir saw his title defence finish in fifth (2:12:30) having pledged his prize money would go towards projects to support his constituents.
1. Rita Jeptoo KEN 2:26:25
2. Meseret Hailu ETH 2:26:58
3. Sharon Cherop KEN 2:27:01
4. Shalane Flanagan USA 2:27:08
5. Tirfi Tsegaye ETH 2:28:09
6. Kara Goucher USA 2:28:11
7. Madai Perez MEX 2:28:59
8. Diane Nukuri-Johnson BDI 2:29:54
9. Ana Dulce Felix POR 2:30:05
10. Sabrina Mockenhaupt GER 2:30:09
1. Lelisa Desisa ETH 2:10:22
2. Micah Kogo KEN 2:10:27
3. Gebre Gebremariam ETH 2:10:28
4. Jason Hartmann USA 2:12:12
5. Wesley Korir KEN 2:12:30
6. Markos Geneti ETH 2:12:44
7. Dickson Chumba KEN 2:14:08
8. Jeffrey Hunt AUS 2:14:28
9. Daniel Tapia USA 2:14:30
10. Craig Leon USA 2:14:38