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Cheruiyot wins 4th Boston Marathon men’s race, Tune bests Biktimirova in closest women’s race ever

JIMMY GOLEN

Robert Cheruiyot won his fourth Boston Marathon and Dire Tune outkicked Alevtina Biktimirova by 2 seconds in the closest finish in the history of the women’s race on Monday.

Cheruiyot ran away from the pack to finish in a blistering 2 hours, 7 minutes, 46 seconds. The Kenyan missed the course record he set two years ago by 32 seconds, but became the fourth man to win the world’s oldest annual marathon four times.

Cheruiyot and Tune, who finished in 2:25:25, each earned an enhanced prize of $150,000 — the biggest in major marathon history.

Immediately behind Cheruiyot were two Moroccans, Abderrahime Bouramdane 1:18 back, and Khalid El Boumlili, in third another 1:31 back.

With his third straight victory, Cheruiyot gave Kenya its 15th men’s victory in 17 years. Tune was the first Ethiopian woman to win since Fatuma Roba won three straight from 1997-99.

Cheruiyot pulled away from a pack of four at the base of the Newton Hills, running the 19th mile in 4:37 to finish Heartbreak Hill 27 seconds ahead of his Moroccan pursuers. He passed defending women’s champion Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia, with the two No. 1 bibs running side-by-side, just before the 24-mile mark.

Cheruiyot remained on a record pace as he approached Kenmore Square before slowing over the last mile.

Tune and Biktimirova came into Kenmore Square side-by-side, jockeying for position. Biktimirova appeared to get an edge when Tune nearly missed one of the final turns and ran into a camera vehicle. The Ethiopian quickly composed herself and took the lead before the last turn.

Biktimirova caught her and regained the lead briefly, but Tune pulled ahead for good in the last 100 meters on Boylston Street to beat the Russian to the line.

The previous closest women’s finish came two years ago, when Rita Jeptoo beat Jelena Prokopcuka by 10 seconds. Jeptoo finished third this year, 69 second behind Tune.

More than 25,000 runners left Hopkinton under cloudy but calm skies and temperatures in the 50s — a major improvement over last year’s monsoon that threatened to scuttle the race.

Among those in the event’s second-largest field: Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who finished 488th in 2:50:58.

Before the race, Spyros Zagaris, mayor of Marathon, Greece, presented Hopkinton with a replica of a cup that was given to the winner of the first modern Olympic marathon in Athens in 1896. He vowed to build strong ties between his city and Hopkinton, both homes of the start of famous marathons.

Associated Press reporter Mark Pratt in Hopkinton contributed to this report.

(Associated Press)