BOSTON (WWLP-AP) - An Ethiopian man and a Kenyan Woman ran to victory Monday in the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia crossed the finish line in two hours and ten minutes early Monday afternoon, just minutes after Kenyan Rita Jeptoo won the marathon for the women.
The trend continues years of dominance in the race by East African runners. Kenyans and Ethiopans have won the men's race 23 times in the past 25 years, and on the women's side they have won 14 of the last 16 titles.
The last U.S. winner at the world's oldest annual marathon was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985. Greg Meyer, who won in 1983, was the last American man to win.
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 women's race.
Monday morning, a total field of 24,662 streamed across the starting line in Hopkinton, heading for Boston's Back Bay in cool temperatures that were a relief to competitors and organizers alike.
A year after temperatures approaching 90 degrees sent record numbers of participants in search of medical help, it was 48 degrees at the start. The temperature was expected to climb to the mid-50s by the time the field reached Copley Square, 26.2-miles away.
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 2 hours later, the lead runners will go past the Mile 26 marker, which has been decorated with the Newtown, Conn., seal and dedicated to the memory of those killed there.
The 53 wheelchair competitors left Hopkinton at 9:17 a.m., followed 15 minutes later by the 51 elite women. The men were under way at 10 a.m., followed by three waves that over the next 40 minutes would send the entire field of 27,000 on its way to Copley Square.
Last year's race came under the hottest sustained temperatures on record. About 2,300 runners took organizers up on the offer to sit that one out and run this year instead.
For waiting a year, they got perfect running weather: Temperatures expected to rise into the mid-50s with not much of a wind near the Back Bay finish line.
"We got a bye," race director Dave McGillivray said this week. "And that's good, because we need this year to regroup."
22News Statehouse Reporter Christine Lee is at the finish line at Copley Square, and will have the latest on the 117th Running of the Boston Marathon here on WWLP.com and on 22News starting at 5.
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