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Kenyan sets record in sweep
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published April 18, 2006
BOSTON - The Kenyan national anthem got its annual airplay Monday after another Boston Marathon sweep.
It was the Americans, though, who were boasting of a breakthrough.
Robert Cheruiyot finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds to nip the course record by a second, and Rita Jeptoo won the women's race for Kenya's fourth sweep since 2000. With five American men in the top 10 - including Nos.3, 4 and 5 - the United States had its best finish since the addition of prize money in 1986 helped bring back the top international fields.
"It's exciting to see a lot of American guys run well," said Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, who was third behind Cheruiyot and Kenya's Benjamin Maiyo. "The crowd was just phenomenal. When they were chanting, "Go USA! Go Meb! Go USA!' I was like, 'I'm glad I'm here."'
Keflezighi, a naturalized citizen from Eritrea who lives in San Diego, ran with the leaders until the 16th mile. Brian Sell of Rochester, Mich., was fourth, catching Alan Culpepper around the last turn before the finish.
Culpepper of Lafayette, Colo., was fourth last year, a performance that matched the best U.S. finish since 1987. The last American to win in Boston was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985; no American man has won since Greg Meyer in 1983, and 12 times since then there have been no Americans in the top 10.
Cheruiyot and Jeptoo each claimed an olive wreath, a bowl of beef stew and a $100,000 prize. Kenyan men have won 14 of the past 16 titles. Its women have won three in a row and six of seven.
Four of Kenya's women's titles belong to Catherine Ndereba, who was not in the field. Defending men's champion Hailu Negussie dropped out after the halfway point with stomach problems that usually indicate dehydration.
Cheruiyot had no such troubles. He let Maiyo set a blistering pace and ran off his shoulder before taking the lead going up one of the Newton Hills. He came onto Boylston Street - the last stretch - with almost a minute to break the record, then sprinted the last 50 yards amid cheers for him to hurry.
"I think, "No,"' he said. "And then I see I can make it."
Cheruiyot was a second faster than fellow Kenyan Cosmas Ndeti was when he set the course record in 1994.