BOSTON (AP) - Two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line
Monday two hours after Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo crossed it to win
the race. Two people were killed and dozens injured, and authorities
said they were investigating another blast at the John F. Kennedy
Library five miles away.
Race volunteers and public officials rushed to the
aid of wounded spectators, and the medical tent set up to care for
fatigued runners was quickly converted to a trauma clinic. Runners and
spectators were crying as they fled the billowing gray smoke rising from
a running gear store overlooking the end of the course.
The explosion sent some runners tumbling to the
pavement and others, already unsteady from the 26.2-mile run, were
knocked down by those rushing toward the scene. A Rhode Island state
trooper who ran in the race the blasts tore limbs off dozens of people.
The blasts shattered the euphoria of what had been
an uneventful 117th edition of the world's oldest and most prestigious
annual marathon. Runners still on the course were diverted to the Boston
Common; race officials said 4,496 runners had crossed the checkpoint at
more than 24 miles but did not make it to the finish line.
A year after record high temperatures sent
unprecedented numbers of participants to the medical tent, temperatures
in the high 40s greeted the field of 23,326 at the Hopkinton starting
line. It climbed to 54 degrees by the time the winners reached Boston's
Desisa, of Ethiopia, won a three-way sprint down
Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds and snap a
string of three consecutive Kenyan victories.
"Here we have a relative newcomer," said Ethiopia's Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who finished third
In just his second race at 26.2 miles, Desisa
finished 5 seconds ahead of Kenya's Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the
traditional olive wreath. American Jason Hartmann finished fourth for
the second year in a row.
"The Ethiopians run very good tactical races,"
defending champion Wesley Korir, a Kenyan citizen and U.S. resident,
said after finishing fifth. "One thing I always say is, 'Whenever you
see more than five Ethiopians in a race, you ought to be very careful.'
As Kenyans, we ought to go back to the drawing board and see if we can
get our teamwork back."
Jeptoo, 32, averted the Keynan shutout by winning
the women's race for the second time. Jeptoo, who also won in 2006,
finished in 2:26:25 for her first victory in a major race since taking
two years off after having a baby.
After a series of close finishes in the women's
race - five consecutive years with 3 seconds or less separating the top
two - Jeptoo had a relatively comfortable 33-second margin over Meseret
Hailu of Ethiopia. Defending champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya was another
3 seconds back.
Shalane Flanagan, of nearby Marblehead, was fourth
in the women's division in her attempt to earn the first American
victory in Boston since 1985. (Two-time winner Joan Benoit Samuelson,
running on the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory, finished in 2:50:29
to set a world record for her age group.)
"The hardest part about Boston is the Bostonians
want it just as bad as we do, which really tugs at our heart," said
Flanagan, a three-time Olympian. "We all want it too. We want to be the
Kara Goucher, of Portland, Ore., was sixth for her
third top 10 finish in Boston as many tries. The last American woman to
win here was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in '85; Greg Meyer was the last U.S.
man to win, in 1983.
"There's just more pure numbers of African
runners," said Goucher, who noted that the field of five American women
with personal bests under 2:30 was the strongest in years.
"That's a good team of American women," she said. "One day the opportunity is going to be there."
This year it was the men's race with the sprint to the finish.
Desisa, 23, was among a group of nine men - all
from Kenya or Ethiopia - who broke away from the pack in the first half
of the race. There were three remaining when they came out of Kenmore
Square with a mile to go.
But Desisa quickly pulled away and widened his
distance in the sprint to the tape. It's Desisa's second victory in as
many marathons, having won in Dubai in January in 2:04:45.
Japan's Hiroyuki Yamamoto was the first winner of
the day, cruising to victory in the men's wheelchair race by 39 seconds
over nine-time champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa. Tatyana McFadden,
a Russian orphan who attends the University of Illinois, won the
Race day got started with 26 seconds of silence in
honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A
little more than two hours later, the lead runners passed the Mile 26
marker, which was decorated with the Newtown, Conn., seal and dedicated
to the memory of those killed there.