• kenyans Cherop and Korir reign supreme in Boston

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  • Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop the victors at the 2012 BAA Boston Marathon.(Photo:IAAF)Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop the victors at the 2012 BAA Boston Marathon.(Photo:IAAF)
Apr 16, 2012-

Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop won the 116th running of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon Monday in 2:12:40 and 2:31:50, respectively.

Times were slowed by unseasonably warm temperatures which led organizers to urge many entrants not to race, and cautioned those who persisted. The B.A.A. Boston Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

The men’s race broke apart in the Newton hills, as it so often does, after a large pack of fifteen trundled through a pedestrian 1:06:11 first half.

Matthew Kisorio split the pack up in Newton, but cresting the last of the three climbs around 21 miles, it looked like Levy Matebo was going to be the last survivor of a race of attrition in the heat.

Matebo, however, found himself overtaken a by Wesley Korir, who had run the hills more conservatively. Despite slowing significantly in the closing miles, Korir slowed less than the others, and when he passed Matebo the former leader had no response.

“At mile 20, they told me I was sixth,” said Korir, “and I saw the runners in front of me. I thought fifth in Boston would be good, so I passed him. Then I thought, fourth would be nice. I was not thinking of winning. It just happened, one by one. It reminded me of the Chicago marathon.”

At the 2010 Chicago marathon, Korir finished second to Moses Mosop’s course record, also on a relatively warm day.

Korir’s winning time was the slowest men’s finishing time since 2007. Matebo held on to second place, coming in at 2:13:06, with Bernard Kipyego third in 2:13:13. Defending champion Geoffrey Mutai claimed all along that winning was more important than a finishing time for his Boston result as he campaigns for Olympic selection, but the heat felled him as well; Mutai dropped out of the race at the 30km mark, citing stomach cramps, and received medical attention.

“You cannot plan everything,” said Mutai. “I am still happy with my effort.” Mutai refused to speculate on how this performance would affect his chances of selection for the Kenyan Olympic team. Gebre Gebremariam, the 2011 third-place finisher, also struggled, finishing 14th in 2:22:56.

The women’s was yet another close finish as Cherop Sharon Cherop who had been with the lead pack within half a kilometre of the finish in 2011, but was unable to hang on to the closing sprint of Caroline Kilel.

This year, Cherop waited until the same place before kicking hard to dispatch Jemima Sumgong. Sumgong’s finish time of 2:31:52 made the fifth straight year in which the winning margin was three seconds or less.

“I am so happy,” Cherop said afterward. “Last year was so hard.”

Cherop clearly benefitted from her 2011 experience and left nothing to doubt when she finally committed to her sprint, leaving Sumgong well in her wake in the final half-mile.

Unlike the men, the women ran the second half of the race faster than the first, passing the halfway mark in 1:17:11.

Third went to Georgina Rono in 2:33:09; 2011 ING NYC Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado was fourth in 2:34:56; 2006 Boston winner Rita Jeptoo was sixth in 2:35:53. Defending champion Caroline Kilel struggled as well, after leading into the hills, and was seen walking at the 40km mark. Kilel did not finish among the top 100 women.

It was the warmest Boston since 2004 when the race started at noon and temperatures along the course reached 84 F (29 C). (The winners that year were Kenyans Timothy Cherigat in 2:10:37 and Catherine Ndereba in 2:24:27.)

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