Unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds couldn't stop the runners competing in this year's Boston Marathon. But two competitors stood out from the rest. Lelisa Desisa and Caroline Rotich won the 2015 Boston Marathon's men's and women's divisions, respectively. This is the second victory for Desisa, who had actually won the Boston Marathon in 2013 and donated his medal to the city. This is the first win for Rotich, who outpaced second-place finisher Mare Dibaba at the last minute to take the title.
Desisa finished with an impressive unofficial time of 2:09:17, and at the finish line exclaimed to press, "I am happy to win, No. 1, and for Boston — Boston 2013!" His new time breaks his previous record of 2:10:22, the time he clocked two years ago. Luckily, Desisa wasn't injured in the 2013 bombings because he had crossed the finish line before the explosions went off. Two months after the attack, he decided to run in the Boston Athletic Association 10K and donate his Marathon medal to honor those who were affected. He said in a statement at the time:
The reason I want to give the medal back is I want people to know I feel the pain. The pain I have is with me, [and] that only encourages me, every time when I run.
Born in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, Desisa is a 25-year-old long-distance runner who specializes in road competitions. He broke out onto the road running scene in 2010, when he competed in the Zayed International Half Marathon and finished third. Since then, he's competed in roughly two dozen road races, including 10,000 meters, 10Ks, half-marathons, and marathons. His personal best marathon time is 2:04:45, which he got at the Dubai Marathon in 2013 three months before the Boston Marathon.
As for the women's division, Rotich secured her victory in one of the closest races Boston's ever seen. She was neck and neck with Ethiopia's Dibaba as they made their way down the final stretch on Boylston Street before she took the lead in the last 500 feet to finish four seconds ahead of Dibaba. Her winning time was 2:24:55.
Rotich told reporters at the finish line:
I have been waiting for this and training and training. I feel like, "Yeah I want to do this and I can’t let it go."
The 30-year-old long-distance runner from Kenya specializes in marathons and half-marathons. In addition to the Boston Marathon, Rotich has also won the Las Vegas Marathon and the New York Half Marathon. Rotich started training from a young age and was awarded a sports scholarship to attend Japan's Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School, which is known for its long-distance running. Her personal best is 2:23:22, which she clocked at the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
Other winners on Monday include the victors of the Boston Marathon wheelchair division. Marcel Hug of Switzerland, nicknamed the "Swiss Silver Bullet," became the first winner of the day when he crossed the finish line in the men's wheelchair division in 1:29:53. The winner of the women's wheelchair division is a familiar name: Tatyana McFadden. This is was her third victory in Boston.
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