Kenyan, Russian Win Boston Marathon

Runners react to the gun at the start of the 107th running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 21, 2003. About 20, 000 participants were expected to race.
Robert Cheruiyot won the men's division of the Boston Marathon on Monday, outracing a host of his countrymen over the second half of the course to give Kenya its 12th victory in 13 years.

Russia's Svetlana Zakharova won the women's race to prevent a second consecutive Kenyan sweep.

Cheruiyot is the eighth Kenyan to win the race since that country began its domination in 1991. It was just his second career marathon, having won his debut in Milan in December.

Cheruiyot finished in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 10 seconds to win by 23 seconds and earn $80,000, an olive wreath and a bowl of beef stew. Kenyans swept the first five spots in the race, with Benjamin Kimutai second and Martin Lel third. Defending champion Rodgers Rop was seventh.

Zakharova is the first Russian to win since 1993. Her unofficial time was 2 hours, 25 minutes and 19 seconds.

American Marla Runyan was fifth — the best finish for a U.S. runner since 1993.

Runyan, who is legally blind, trailed a bicyclist, who provided her with her times at the checkpoints and guided her to her water bottles. She traded positions with defending champion Margaret Okayo and Russians Denisova and Zakharova as Zakharova pulled ahead to pass the 13.1-mile mark with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes and 39 seconds.

Rop was in a pack of a dozen that trailed leader Vincent Kipsos through much of the early race before Kipsos dropped out by Mile 14.

South African Ernst Van Dyk earned his third consecutive victory in the men's wheelchair race, finishing in 1:28:32 without a competitor in sight. Christina Ripp of Savoy, Ill., who finished second last year, won the women's wheelchair race in 1:54:57.