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Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya crosses the finish line in Boston, breaking a course record, and winning the 114th running of the Boston Marathon Monday, April 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Kenya's Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot won the 114th Boston Marathon on Monday, breaking the course record with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds. Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso took the women's title, sprinting to the tape to win by three seconds in the third-closest women's finish in event history.
Cheruiyot was 82 seconds faster than the course record set in 2006 by four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who's not related. The 2010 champions each earned $150,000 and a golden olive wreath from the city of Marathon, Greece; Cheruiyot gets an extra $25,000 for the course record.
Cheruiyot finished 91 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede, with defending champion Deriba Merga in third and Americans Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi rounding out the top five. It's the first time two Americans have finished in the top five since '06; no American has won the men's race since Greg Meyer in 1983.
Hall, who finished third last year, fell out of the top 15 near the halfway point but sprinted through the final mile to challenge Merga for a spot on the podium. He missed by 2 seconds, but his time of 2:08:41 was the fastest for an American in Boston, six seconds faster than Bob Kempainen in 1994.
More than 26,000 runners left Hopkinton Monday morning with temperatures in the high 40s and a headwind of 13 mph. The air warmed slightly during the day — good running weather.
"I tried to show my talent," said Cheruiyot, who gave Kenya its 18th men's victory in 20 years.
This year, the men's race was decided in the Newton Hills.
Merga surged ahead at the firehouse that marks the start of Heartbreak Hill, drawing Cheruiyot along with him while the rest of a lead pack of about a dozen fell behind. Among them was Abderrahim Gourmi, who had the fastest personal best in the field, and Keflezighi, the reigning New York City Marathon champion.
The two leaders ran the mile that includes Heartbreak Hill in a split of 4:37.
Merga and Cheruiyot ran shoulder-to-shoulder through parts of Newton and into Brookline. The Kenyan inched ahead at Coolidge Corner with about 2.5 miles left and pulled away.
Erkesso opened a lead of more than 90 seconds and held on, grabbing her side as she ran along Beacon Street in the last four miles. Russia's Tatyana Pushkareva smiled and waved at the TV cameras as she closed the gap, but she could not quite catch Erkesso on Boylston Street.
Erkesso won in 2:26:11. Defending champion Salina Kosgei was third, and Paige Higgins of Arizona was the top American woman in 13th.
The men's wheelchair race was also close, with South African Ernst Van Dyk finishing 4 seconds ahead of Krige Schabort for his all-divisions record ninth Boston win. Van Dyk has won three in a row, and he also won six consecutive years from 2000-06; Jean Driscoll won eight Boston women's wheelchair races.
Wakako Tsuchida of Japan won her fourth straight women's wheelchair title.