African marathoners top at Boston two years after bombing

Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:02pm EDT
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By Scott Malone and Richard Valdmanis

BOSTON (Reuters) - Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa finished first in the Boston Marathon on Monday, reclaiming the top spot in a race he last won two years ago when it was struck by a deadly bombing attack.

Caroline Rotich of Kenya led the women's field, affirming African athletes' dominance at the race.

Desisa, who famously gave his winner's medal to the city following the 2013 bombing, pulled ahead to sprint down Boylston Street alone, finishing with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

"Strong Boston!" Desisa shouted after he crossed the finish line, in a version of the "Boston Strong" motto that became the city's rallying cry after the April 15, 2013, attack that killed three and injured 264.

He has no plans to donate this year's medal.

"This medal is, I think it is for me," Desisa told reporters.

Kenya's Rotich had a more dramatic finish, besting Ethiopia's Mare DiBaba in a sprint down Boylston Street, turning in a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 55 seconds.

Security was high near the start line in Hopkinton, along the 26.2 mile (42.16 km) course and around the finish line in Boston, in recognition of the bombing, one of the most visible attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.   Continued...

Caroline Rotich of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 119th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder