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Soejima wins men's wheelchair division

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  April 18, 2011 10:37 AM

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Masazumi Soejima of Japan outsprinted Kurt Fearnley of Australia and favorite Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa to win the men's wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon.

Soejima finished in 1 hour 18 minutes 50 seconds, one second faster than Fearnley and Van Dyk, who finished third.

With the victory, Soejima became the first athlete to beat Van Dyk in Boston. The 38-year-old was going for his 10th victory in the race, having won every year from 2001-06 and again from 2008-10. He did not compete in 2007.

Soejima wore a sticker on his jersey that read "Strength and Courage" in Japanese, a tribute to his country which was ravaged by last month's earthquake and tsunami.

"I was thinking until my hands start bleeding, until my heart stops, I am going to try until the very end," Soejima said through a translator. "With everything that has happened in Japan, I really wanted to try hard this year, especially to finish in Boston and do well for my country."

The victory even inspired Fearnley.

"I think [Japan] deserves as much good news as possible," he said.

Soejima and women's winner, Wakako Tsuchida, also of Japan, held up a Japanese flag after the race. The flag was signed by all of the Red Sox, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, who earned the win in yesterday's 9-1 decision over the Blue Jays.

The flag read: "Keep trying and keep the courage Japan."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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