BOSTON — Ethiopians nearly swept the Kenyans off the podium at the Boston Marathon on Monday, winning both the men’s and women’s races for the first time in history and taking five of the six spots on the victory stand.
Lemi Berhanu Hayle won the men’s race in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 45 seconds, pulling away from defending champion Lelisa Desisa as they crossed over the Massachusetts Turnpike heading into Kenmore Square. Hayle won by 47 seconds, with Yemane Adhane Tsegay an additional 30 seconds back to round out an all-Ethiopian men’s top three.
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Atsede Baysa won the women’s race, coming from 37 seconds behind with less than five miles to go. The two-time Chicago Marathon champion finished in 2:29:19 hours, 44 seconds ahead of fellow Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye.
Joyce Chepkirui was third in the women’s race, the lone Kenyan to medal in a race that had been dominated by her countrymen for decades. The results come as the World Anti-Doping Agency put Kenya on probation after more than 40 athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs since the 2012 Olympics — nearly one a month.
Most of the top Americans, including 2014 winner Meb Keflezighi, skipped the race after running in the U.S. Olympic trials in February. Other countries pick their teams for the Summer Games by committee, and the performances in Boston could help Desisa and Hayle earn a ticket to Rio de Janeiro.
Zachary Hine of Dallas was the top U.S. man, finishing 10th. Neely Spence Gracey, of Superior, Colorado, was the first American woman to finish, coming in ninth.
On a clear and windless day, cool temperatures at the start warmed to 62 degrees by the time the winners reached the Back Bay. It was supposed to reach the mid-70s later in the afternoon — an added challenge for the rest of the 30,000-runner field that left Hopkinton in four waves Monday morning.
Defending women’s champion Caroline Rotich was among the first to fall out, dropping away from the leaders at a water station about 5 miles in and walking to the side of the road. No reason for her withdrawal was immediately available.