Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya won the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, leading a sweep for his nation of the men’s and women’s divisions.
Kirui pulled away from three-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp with 2 miles (3 kilometers) to go in the 26.2-mile (42 km) run to take the title in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 37 seconds. Rupp was 21 seconds back, and Suguru Osako of Japan placed third, 51 seconds behind the winner.
“In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race,” said the 25-year-old Kirui, competing in his third marathon. “To come here to Boston, I knew I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here. … I knew I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here.”
Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2 hours, 21 minutes, 52 seconds for the Kenyan sweep. Rose Chelimo of Bahrain was runner-up, 59 seconds back, and American Jordan Hasay was another 9 seconds behind to take third place.
Ethiopians swept the titles last year. Kenyans had won either the men’s or women’s race every year since 1991 before being shut out in 2014 and again last year.
Temperatures were much warmer than normal this year, with the thermometer hitting 79 degrees (26 C) at the 20-kilometer mark.
Americans dominated the men’s division with six runners placing in the top 10.
“It’s so exciting to see Americans being competitive here,” said Rupp, the Olympic bronze medalist who was making his Boston debut. “It’s a real exciting time. And it’s awesome to see American distance running on the upswing and being competitive in these races.”
“American distance running is looking good today,” said sixth-place finisher Abdi Abdirahman, a Somali immigrant and Arizona resident who is a four-time Olympian. “We have the podium for both men and women, so the future is great.”
It was the first time since 1991 that two U.S. women had finished in the top four, with Desi Linden placing fourth.
Earlier Monday, Boston city officials announced plans for memorials to mark the sites near the finish line where two bombs exploded during the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.
Two brothers who immigrated from Russia, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were identified as the perpetrators. Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with police four days after the twin explosions that came 12 seconds apart. Dzhokhar remains in a federal prison after being sentenced to death.