Cheruiyot breaks CR in Boston; Hall fastest American ever at race

04-19-2010

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Jill M. Geer
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BOSTON - In the fastest Boston Marathon in its 114-year legacy, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya put on a dominant performance, while Ryan Hall became the fastest American in the history of the race with his fourth-place finish.

On a gorgeous Monday morning, with temperatures in the low 50s and a wind that was more favorable than not, Cheruiyot put the pedal down in the 16th and 17th miles, breaking away with defending champion Deriba Merga. Despite a gimpy hamstring, Cheruiyot then dropped Merga to win in 2:05:52. Only 21 years old, Cheruiyot crushed the course record of 2:07:14, run by four-time Boston champ Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot in 2006.

Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia moved up to finish second in 2:07:23, with Merga third in 2:08:39.

Hall ran a race eerily similar to his 2009 Boston effort, leading the pack almost from the gun. At various points in the race, Hall dropped back into the pack only to resume the lead, but at 10 miles he had dropped 10 seconds off the lead while American 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi held steady with the pack. Hall slowly worked back as the pace flagged to 5-minute pace at mile 11, but the hammering of Cheruiyot and Merga of 4:38 and 4:42 miles broke up the pack for good.

After dropping to sixth, Hall moved back up to place fourth in 2:08:41, the fastest time by an American at Boston. Bob Kempainen ran 2:08:47 to place seventh in 1994.

The 2009 ING New York City Marathon winner, Keflezighi put on a strong performance despite missing significant training this winter after injuring his left knee. After missing two weeks of running and running at half his normal mileage levels for several weeks more, Keflezighi had enough fitness to run with the leaders in Boston. He held on for fifth place in 2:09:26, crossing the finish line with a distinct limp that favored his left leg. It was the third-fastest marathon of Meb's career.

The women's race in Boston went from an apparent runaway to an exciting finish. Two-time Chevron Houston Marathon winner Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia took the lead in the hills of Wellesley, eventually opening a lead of more than 2 minutes. But stomach upset and a grueling pace that dropped into the range of 5:20 per mile at times hobbled the 27-year-old in the closing miles.

Former competitive ballroom dancer Tatyana Pushkareva of Russia nearly closed the gap, but Erkesso pulled herself together in the last 2 km to win in 2:26:11, with Pushkareva second in 2:26:14. 2009 Boston Marathon champion Salina Kosgei of Kenya again had to sprint for her final place, taking third in 2:28:25. Paige Higgins was the top American, placing 13th in 2:36:00.

For complete results from the 114th Boston Marathon, visit www.baa.org