Only a couple of seconds separated Kenyan runner Lawrence Cherono and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa as they sprinted down the final stretch of Bolyston Street at the end of Monday’s 123rd Boston Marathon.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) April 15, 2019
Cherono managed to pull ahead of Desisa, the 2013 and 2015 Boston champion, and win by the slim margin of two seconds.
“I was so focused, because I never [won] a major marathon,’’ said Cherono. “But to me, I was so determined, to win.’’
Cherono finished in an official time of 2:07:57, with Desisa at 2:07:59, and Kenyan Kenneth Kipkemoi right behind them at 2:08:07 in one of the closest finishes ever in the race.
Here are the closest finishes in Boston Marathon history:
In 2000, Kenyan Elijah Lagat and Ethiopian Gezahegne Abera finished with identical 2:09:47 times, but Lagat was awarded the victory in a photo finish, becoming the 10th consecutive man from Kenya to win Boston. Kenyan Moses Tanui, a two-time Boston champion, finished right behind the duo with a time of 2:09:50.
In 1988, Tanzanian Juma Ikangaa held a lead over Kenyan Ibrahim Hussein after miles of side-by-side racing. Hussein made his move down the stretch and passed Ikangaa, posting a winning time of 2:08:43 to top the Tanzanian (2:08:44) by just one second.
In 1978, Melrose’s Bill Rodgers won Boston for the second time but he barely edged Californian Jeff Wells. Rodgers posted a time of 2:10:13 — just two seconds faster than Wells’s 2:10:15 — and he would win Boston each of the next two years, too.
Another local runner won in a close finish in 1982. Alberto Salazar of Wayland finished with a time of 2:08:52, just ahead of Dick Beardsley (2:08:54) on a brutally hot day. The duo traded the lead multiple times over the final 9 miles in a race that was dubbed the “Duel in the Sun.’’