Desisa, Rotich champions of Boston Marathon
Lelisa Desisa ran through the rain to earn a second Boston Marathon victory and his first chance to enjoy it.
The 25-year-old Ethiopian broke the tape again on Boylston Street on Monday as the world’s most prestigious marathon tried to return to its routine two years after Desisa’s first Boston win was overshadowed by the twin explosions at the finish line.
“Lelisa did not get to have the kind of victory celebration that a champion of the Boston Marathon should have,” Boston Athletic Association spokesman Jack Fleming said, interrupting the post-race news conference to place the champions’ trophy at Desisa’s side. “Lelisa, we want you to get your due today.”
Desisa won the 2013 race just hours before two bombs killed three people and wounded 260 others, turning what should be the pinnacle of any distance runner’s career into an afterthought. On Monday, he finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 17 seconds to claim a golden olive wreath, the US$150,000 (NT$4.667 million) first prize and a winner’s medal to replace the one he donated to the city in memory of the victims.
“This medal, I think, is for me,” said Desisa, who waved to the crowd as he sprinted past the bomb sites. “I took off my hat and started waving my hands because I love the Boston people.”
Kenya’s Caroline Rotich won the women’s race, beating Mare Dibaba in a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint down Boylston to win by 4 seconds on a cold and rainy day that thinned the crowds but didn’t lessen their enthusiasm for the city’s signature sporting event.
“I got to the last corner and I saw the finish line tape and I thought, ‘This is it, I’m not going to let it go,”’ said Rotich, who won in 2:24:55 to collect US$150,000 and give Kenya its fifth straight women’s champion. “I was like, ‘No, not today.’ And I kept going.”