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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kenyans sweep titles; Americans make run

 •  Hawai'i runners embrace experience

By Jimmy Golen
Associated Press

Kenya's Robert Cheruiyot broke the Boston Marathon course record by one second by finishing in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds. The previous record was set by fellow Kenyan Cosmas Ndeti in 1994.

CHARLES KRUPA | Associated Press

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Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won the women's title in 2:23:38, 10 seconds ahead of Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka in the closest women's finish in history. Japan's Reiko Tosa was third in 2:24:11.

ELISE AMENDOLA | Associated Press

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BOSTON The Kenyan national anthem got its annual airplay in the Back Bay yesterday after another Boston Marathon sweep.

It was the Americans, though, who were boasting of a breakthrough.

Robert Cheruiyot finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds to nip the course record by a single second, and Rita Jeptoo won the women's race for Kenya's fourth sweep since 2000. With five American men in the top 10 including Nos. 3, 4 and 5 the United States had its best finish since the addition of prize money in 1986 helped bring back the top international fields.

"It's exciting to see a lot of American guys run well," said Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, who was third behind Cheruiyot and Kenya's Benjamin Maiyo. "The crowd was just phenomenal. When they were chanting, 'Go USA! Go Meb! Go USA!' I was like, 'I'm glad I'm here.' "

Keflezighi, a naturalized citizen from Eritrea who lives in San Diego, ran with the leaders until the 16th mile and then began falling behind. Brian Sell, from Rochester, Mich., was fourth, catching Alan Culpepper, from Lafayette, Colo., around the last turn before the Copley Square finish.

Peter M. Gilmore, of San Mateo, Calif., was seventh and Clint Verran, of Lake Orion, Mich., was 10th.

The last American to win in Boston was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985; no American man has won since Greg Meyer in 1983.

Cheruiyot and Jeptoo each claimed an olive wreath, a bowl of beef stew and the $100,000 first prize. Kenyan men have won 14 of the last 16 Boston titles and its women have won three in a row and six of seven.

Defending men's champion Hailu Negussie dropped out just after the halfway point.

Cheruiyot was a second faster than fellow Kenyan Cosmas Ndeti was when he set the course record in 1994 and 66 seconds ahead of Maiyo.

Jeptoo outkicked Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka to finish in 2:23:38 and win by 10 seconds.