News » National

Ethiopia's Desisa, Kenya's Rotich Winners at Boston Marathon

Desisa unseated reigning champion Meb Keflezighi of California, whose 2014 victory marked the first time that a U.S. man had won the race in three decades.

by

Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa and Kenya's Caroline Rotich were the top male and female finishers at Monday's Boston Marathon, two years after the race was struck by a deadly bombing attack.

Desisa, who famously gave his winner's medal to the city following the 2013 attack, pulled ahead of all rivals to sprint down Boylston Street alone, finishing with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

"Strong Boston!" Desisa shouted after he crossed the finish line, in a version of the "Boston Strong" motto that became the city's rallying cry after the April 15, 2013, attack that killed three and injured 264.

Kenya's Rotich had a more dramatic finish, besting Ethiopia's Mare DiBaba in a sprint down Boylston Street, turning in a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 55 seconds.

Security was high near the start line in Hopkinton, along the 26.2 mile course and around the finish line in Boston, in recognition of the bombing of the 2013 race, one of the most visible attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Desisa unseated reigning champion Meb Keflezighi of California, whose 2014 victory marked the first time that a U.S. man had won the race in three decades.

Keflezighi finished eighth.

The elite men's and women's fields kept large packs for the first half of the race, with runners mindful of the early breakaway that set the stage for Keflezighi's 2014 victory.

CONTROVERSY ON BOMBER'S TRIAL

The race comes during a pause in the trial of Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, convicted this month of killing three and injuring 264 in the 2013 bombing of the elite race.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Tuesday are due to begin presenting another series of witnesses before the jury decides whether Tsarnaev will be sentenced to death or to life in prison without possibility of parole.

The idea of putting Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, to death remains controversial in Boston, where polls show a deeply divided public.

Four victims of the bombing, including the families of two of the people killed by the bombs and a couple who lost legs in the blast, have now made public statements opposing seeking death for Tsarnaev.

"If there is anyone who deserves the ultimate punishment, it is the defendant. However, we must overcome the impulse for vengeance," said Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, who both lost legs in the attack, in a statement. "We believe that the best way to move forward and achieve our goals is a life sentence in prison without the opportunity for parole."

Last week, the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest to die in the attack, made a similar statement. In both cases, the argument was not one of philosophical opposition to capital punishment but a practical one, that a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole could spare the families and public further weeks of emotionally charged testimony and possibly years of appeals.

Tags