Robert Cheruiyot won the Boston Marathon for the third time, defending his title in the rain in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 13 seconds on Monday. Russia's Lidiya Grigoryeva captured the women's race in 2:29:18.
Cheruiyot, who also won in 2003 and set the course record last year, outkicked countryman James Kwambai as they headed into Kenmore Square with a 2km to go. And the defending champion kept his feet under him as he crossed the finish line -- something he had a bit of a problem with when he won in Chicago last autumn.
This time, Cheruiyot held his arms to the side as he stepped over the slip-proof line 20 seconds ahead of Kwambai and blew a kiss to the crowd as he broke the tape. Kenya won its 15th men's title in the last 17 years and swept the top four positions.
Grigoryeva, who set the course record in Los Angeles last year, veered to the stands to grab a Russian flag just before crossing the finish line to win by 40 seconds and claim her US$100,000 first prize.
Grigoryeva, Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka and Mexico's Madai Perez ran shoulder to shoulder into a headwind for much of the last 14km before Perez and then Prokopcuka fell back as they crossed the Massachusetts Turnpike and headed into Kenmore Square with 2km to go.
The weather was milder than forecasters had feared 11oC with a moderate rain at the start -- and the sun even came out halfway through. But winds picked up as the runners turned onto Beacon Street in Cleveland Circle for the last, long homestretch to Copley Square.
The women ran together in a lead pack of seven for the first half of the race before several, including Jeptoo and top US runner Deena Kastor, began to fall behind. Kastor slowed just past the midpoint, and Jeptoo at the 27km mark, heading into the Newton hills.