- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

BOSTON (AP) - Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga overcame the disappointment of his Olympic fade to win the Boston Marathon, and Kenya’s Salina Kosgei won the women’s race on Monday while Americans took third in both races for the best U.S. finish since 1985.

Merga wilted in the Beijing heat and finished fourth after getting passed in the last quarter-mile. But in Boston he pulled away right before Heartbreak Hill and won in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 42 seconds _ almost a full minute ahead of Kenya’s Daniel Rono and American Ryan Hall.

Kosgei won a sprint with defending champion Dire Tune, trading the lead several times in the final blocks of Boylston Street before hitting the tape less than a stride ahead of the Ethiopian in 2:32:16. American Kara Goucher led the three as they crossed the MassPike into Kenmore Square with one mile to go, but she was outkicked down the stretch and finished nine seconds back.

Kosgei said the conditions Monday morning made for a difficult finish.

“I decided I must try. So, I tried,” she said in a television interview. “The wind was a bit stronger. … So, it was very hard.”

The winners take home $150,000 and a laurel wreath.

No American has won in Boston since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985, when the U.S. women swept the top three and the men came in second and third.

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