ABOVE PHOTO: Boston Marathon men’s and women’s winners Teyba Erkesso, of Ethiopia, left, and Robert Cheruiyot, of Kenya, gesture during a news conference in Boston following their running of the 114th Boston Marathon, Monday, April 19, 2010.
(AP Photo/Lisa Poole)
BOSTON –Let him be known from Copley Square to Kenya as “Robert the Younger” — the second man named Robert K. Cheruiyot to win the Boston Marathon and the first person ever to run the legendary course in under 2 hours, 6 minutes.
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot won the 114th Boston race last Monday, finishing in 2:05:52 to shatter, by 82 seconds, the course record set by unrelated four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. American Ryan Hall, who finished third last year, missed another spot on the podium by 2 seconds, but his time of 2:08:41 was the fastest ever for a U.S. runner in Boston.
“Today was a breakthrough day,” said Hall, who was 6 seconds faster than Bob Kempainen was in 1994. “Guys are paving new territory, and that’s good for us, too.”
Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia took the women’s title in 2:26:11, sprinting to the tape to win by 3 seconds in the event’s third-closest women’s finish. Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva smiled and waved at the TV cameras as she closed what had been a 90-second gap, but she could not quite catch Erkesso on Boylston Street.
Cheruiyot, 21, surpassed the time of 2:07:14 set in 2006 by his namesake, who is 10 years older. The younger Cheruiyot, who owns a farm back home, earned a bonus of $25,000 for the course record on top of the $150,000 — and a golden olive wreath from the city of Marathon, Greece — that goes to the men’s and women’s winners.
“I am going to buy some cows,” Cheruiyot said.
Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot won his first Boston in 2003 and three more times from 2006-08 to cement his place among the Boston Marathon greats. On last Monday, acting on the advice his elder gave him in a meeting two months ago, “Robert the Younger” produced a blistering pace to join them.
“Most of the people already confuse me with Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot,” said the 2010 champion, who finished fifth in Boston last year after winning in Frankfurt in his marathon debut. “With me and Robert, we talk the same language, but in different stripes. I think people can see me and they can see him and compare.”
Cheruiyot finished 91 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede to give Kenya its 18th men’s victory in 20 years. Defending champion Deriba Merga was third, followed by Hall and fellow Californian Meb Keflezighi, the reigning New York City Marathon winner; no U.S. man has won the race since Greg Meyer in 1983.
A temperature of 9 C and a 21 kph head wind greeted more than 26,000 runners at the start in Hopkinton.
This year’s edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon was decided, like so many before it, at Heartbreak Hill.
Merga surged ahead at the firehouse that marks the start of the Newton hills, drawing Cheruiyot along with him, while the rest of the lead pack — including Keflezighi and Moroccan Abderrahim Goumri — fell off the pace.
Merga and Cheruiyot ran shoulder-to-shoulder through parts of Newton and into Brookline, before the Kenyan inched ahead at Coolidge Corner with about 4 km left and pulled away.
The men’s wheelchair race was also close, with South African Ernst Van Dyk finishing 4 seconds ahead of Krige Schabort for his ninth win — an all-divisions record in Boston.
Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida won her fourth straight women’s wheelchair title.