Accessibility links

USA

Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa Wins Boston Marathon

  • Parke Brewer

Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, leads the pack past a water staion, in Natick, Mass., en route to a win in the Boston Marathon, April 20, 2015.

Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, leads the pack past a water staion, in Natick, Mass., en route to a win in the Boston Marathon, April 20, 2015.

Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa now owns two Boston Marathon titles, after winning the 119th edition of the race Monday in windy and rainy conditions in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts.

Desisa's time for the 42-kilometer event was 2 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds. That was 31 seconds ahead of his second-place compatriot Yemane Adhane (2:09:48). Finishing third was Wilson Chebet of Kenya, 1:05 behind the winner Desisa.

Desisa's other victory in the Boston Marathon was two years ago when two bombs rocked the finish area about two hours after he won, but with more than 5,700 runners yet to complete the race. That terrorist attack killed three spectators and injured more than 250.

From left, Yemane Adhane Tsegay of Ethiopia, Tadese Tola of Ethiopia, Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Danthan Ritzenhein, of Rockford, Mich., and Matt Tegenkamp of Portland, Ore, leave the start line of the Boston Marathon April 2

From left, Yemane Adhane Tsegay of Ethiopia, Tadese Tola of Ethiopia, Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Danthan Ritzenhein, of Rockford, Mich., and Matt Tegenkamp of Portland, Ore, leave the start line of the Boston Marathon April 2

Desisa donated his winner's medal that year to the city of Boston in memory of the victims. On Monday, he received the traditional olive wreath, $150,000 in prize money and a medal.

After his victory, the Ethiopian said, "This medal, I think, is for me."

Winning the women's division in a thrilling finish was Caroline Rotich of Kenya. She was running shoulder-to-shoulder with Ethiopian Mare Dibaba with three blocks to go, but pulled ahead for the victory with about 150 meters remaining. Rotich's time was 2 hours, 24 minutes and 55 seconds, only four seconds ahead of Dibaba.


About 30,000 athletes from around the world competed in the world's oldest annual marathon. Last year's winner, American Meb Keflezighi, finished eighth Monday, one place behind the highest finishing American Dathan Ritzenhein in seventh. At last year's marathon, Meb Keflezighi became the first American man since 1983 to win.

Africans have dominated the men’s and women’s divisions in recent years.

Boston Marathon bombings

Less than two weeks ago, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all of 30 charges related to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Several days after the bombings, his older brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar, 19 at the time, was captured in a Boston suburb after an intensive manhunt.

"For us, the core principle is the Boston Marathon is an international athletic event focused on competition and excellence,'' Tom Grilk, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, told the Associated Press last week. "We start there, every time. Including last year,'' he said.

Last year's event was the first since the attack. On April 15, 2013, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the Boylston Street finish line just as some runners were completing the race. The explosions, at 2:49 p.m. local time, killed three people and injured 264.

Several days after the event, elder brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar, then 19, was captured in a Boston suburb after an intensive manhunt. Earlier this month, a jury found him guilty on all of 30 charges related to the bombings. On Tuesday, he’s scheduled to return to federal court for the next phase of the trial, in which prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

"What happened in 2013 was the closest and perhaps most poignant part of our history, but part of the history," race organizer Grilk said. "The history going forward would be written by the people who come and run and watch and participate in all the ways that people do.''

Monday’s field in the race included Rebekah (DiMartino) Gregory, whose left leg had to be amputated after her injuries. She was running the marathon on a new prosthetic leg, ESPN reported.

Security has been beefed up. Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans told The Boston Globe last week it included enhanced checkpoints and bomb detection dogs throughout the 26.2-mile route. Backpacks, shoulder bags and coolers were subjected to searches.

Law enforcement also was taking extra precautions at and near Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Its traditional race-day morning game, this year against the Baltimore Orioles, started at 11:05 a.m. local time.

WATCH: Mobile video of the wheelchair race start:

XS
SM
MD
LG