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Ernst van Dyk clinches historic Boston Marathon win

Sapa-AP

Veteran wheelchair racer Ernst van Dyk has become the first athlete to win 10 titles at the Boston Marathon.

Runners make their way to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (Reuters)

Veteran wheelchair racer Ernst van Dyk made history on Monday when he became the first athlete to win 10 titles at the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts.

Van Dyk dominated the 42km race from start to finish, winning in 1:20:36 to clock his second fastest performance at the annual race.

Only in 2004, when he set the former course record of 1:18:27, did he complete the event in a quicker time.

By the time he crossed the finish line, the South African had opened a 38-second lead over Kota Hokinoue of Japan, who was second in 1:21:14.

Lusapho April, who was third in last year's New York Marathon, took 15th position in the able-bodied elite men's race in 2:14:59.

April stayed with the chasing group for most of the race but dropped back after pushing the pace in the second half.

The 31-year-old South African was more than six minutes behind Meb Keflezighi, who finished in 2:08:37 to become the first American to win the elite men's race since 1983.

Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon on Monday, a year after a bombing at the finish line left three dead and more than 260 people injured.

He finished soon after Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended her title in a course record.

Keflezighi is a former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medalist. He ran from Hopkinton to the finish on Boylston Street in Boston's Back Bay in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.

He held off Wilson Chebet of Kenya, who finished 11 seconds behind.

Keflezighi looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile (1,6km). After realising he wouldn't be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.

He's the first US winner since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took the women's title in 1985; the last American man to win was Greg Meyer in 1983.

Jeptoo clocked 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds.

She becomes the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion.

Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 37km mark. Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia finished second with an unofficial time of 2:19:59. –Sapa-AP

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