Debutant winners Lawrence Cherono and Worknesh Degefa have a ball at 2019 Boston Marathon
Lawrence Cherono won the Boston Marathon on his debut after a thrilling sprint to the tape with two-time winner Lelisa Delisa.
The Kenyan finished in 2:07:57, .02 of a second faster than Delisa to prevent an Ethiopian clean sweep, his countryman Kenneth Kipkemoi came in third (2:08:07).
“This is something amazing but it was not easy.” - Lawrence Cherono
Worknesh Degefa took the women's elite race to make it another dream debut becoming the eight Ethiopian woman to wear the Boston crown.
Kenya's Edna Kiplagat, the 2017 champion, (2:24:13) and American Jordan Hasay (2:25:20) completed the podium. Defending champ Des Linden (USA) was fifth (2:27:00).
The 28-year-old Degefa fell to her knees and kissed the Bostonian ground after her victory.
She took the lead with 32km to go and never looked back.
“My coach said, you can push, you have good speed, When you feel comfortable JUST GO.” - Worknesh Defega
Cherono, Desisa and Kipkemoi broke away after 38km heading shoulder-to-shoulder into the final km. They stayed together until about 250m from the finish when Cherono and Denisa made it a two-man race.
Thanks to a last-second kick the 30-year-old, a winner of six marathons, edged Desisa. It was the closest finish in the men's race since 1988.
"I was so focused, because I had never won a major marathon. I was so determined to win," said Cherono.
2018 winner Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) ended up in 17th place (2:15:29).
In a class of her own
Degefa was known as a half marathon specialist before the race but laid that to rest very quickly.
The 28-year-old led by more than three minutes at halfway point before celebrating her first major marathon victory. Degefa had won the Dubai marathon in 2017 where she set an Ethiopian record.
The day started off with rainy conditions but the weather eventually brightened up, favouring the frontrunners.
USA wins first race of the day
US Paralympic wheelchair racer Daniel Romanchuk took the first title of the day winning the push-rim wheelchair event on Monday morning.
The 20-year-old Illinois native became the youngest winner ever, finishing in 1:21:36.
Schar takes top spot
Switzerland's Manuela Schar won the women's event, thwarting Tatyana McFadden’s bid to defend her title.
34-year-old Schar has won three Paralympic medals and reclaimed the Boston crown which she won in 2017.