Lelisa Desisa Shows He’s The Boss At 2015 Boston Marathon After Ritz And Meb Make It Interesting

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

*Video Highlights/Interviews Here

BOSTON (20-Apr) – Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Caroline Rotich of Kenya overcame strong fields and wet and windy weather to win the 119th Boston Marathon here today in 2:09:17 and 2:24:55, respectively.  For Desisa, who won here just hours before the terrorist bombings in 2013, it was his second victory, while Rotich got her First.  Both athletes won $150,000 in prize money.

The men’s race recap is below. Women’s race recap is here. LRC analysis of both races here: LRC 9 Takeaways From The 2015 Boston Marathon – Desi and Ritz Lead Late, One of Meb’s Gutsiest Races Ever, Teg Doesn’t Like The Marathon + America’s Next Great Marathon Star?

In the men’s contest, the early downhill miles clicked off quickly in 4:39, 4:48, 4:44, 4:43 and 4:54, respectively, putting the race on a sub-2:05 pace.  A big pack of 14 went through 10 km in 29:42, but then the pace began to slow with Desisa on the front at 15-K (44:57).  He was joined by compatriots Yemane Tsegay, Tadese Tola, and Gebre Gebremariam; Kenyans Wilson Chebet, Wesley Korir, and Frankline Chepkwony; American Meb Keflezighi (the defending champion), South African Lusapho April; and Eritrean Zersenay Tadese.

Ritz Made a Charge and Led Much of the Last Half of the Race Ritz Made a Charge and Led Much of the Last Half of the Race

American Dathan Ritzenhein was 23 seconds back, but joined the leading group by the half-way mark (1:04:01), and then, to his surprise, took the lead.

“I didn’t realize that I would be out in front,” said Ritzenhein who said he held a steady pace while the leaders slowed and came back to him.  “When I came up to about 12 miles I saw them bunch up.”

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Ritzenhein, who was running Boston for the first time, stayed on the front through 30-K, but was dropped when Desisa made a big move past the 35-K fluid station.

“I pushed at 35-K; Yemane is following me,” Desisa recounted.  “I got again.”

Tsegay, Chebet, Korir and Chepkwony were able to respond, but Keflezighi got caught trying to rapidly swallow his drink and catch back up at the same time.  The fluid wouldn’t stay down, and Keflezighi had to stop to vomit multiple times.  His chances for victory were dashed.

“I had to stop five times and had to throw up,” he told reporters.  He added: “Obviously, that big move was the deciding factor.”

Desisa bolted from the 35 to 40-K mark in a snappy 14:40.  He had put everyone away except for Tsegay.

2015 Boston Marathon Weekend“I tried to test all the athletes to see who has more than me, more speed than me,” Lelisa explained.  He continued: “My performance, my speed, is greater than theirs.”

Lelisa was able to pull away from Tsegay and had enough of a cushion to enjoy his victory as he ran the final meters alone on Boylston Street.  He waved several times to the crowd, threw off his hat, and broke the tape in 2:09:17.

“I moving my hand (waving) because I love Boston people,” said Desisa, who finished second at the TCS New York City Marathon last November.

Dathan and Meb and Desi Lead the Boston Marathon Simultaneously Dathan and Meb and Desi Lead the Boston Marathon Simultaneously

Tsegay, who later complained of hamstring trouble, took second in 2:09:48.  Chebet, who finished second here last year, took third in 2:10:22.  Ritzenhein was the top American in seventh place in 2:11:20, one position ahead of Keflezighi (2:12:42).  Keflezighi, whose victory here was so dramatic last year one year after the terrorist bombings, was frustrated by his fluid station troubles.

“I felt very comfortable the whole way through,” he said of the first 35 kilometers.  “I didn’t have any problems prior to that.”  He added: “No regrets.  I put my heart and soul into that.”

Several prominent men dropped out, including former world record holder Patrick Makau (last split at 5 km) and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Abel Kirui (last split at 35 km).

*Video highlights/interviews here

Top Men’s Results (Unofficial)

Pos. Name BIB Time
1 Desisa, Lelisa (ETH) 3 2:09:17
2 Tsegay, Yemane Adhane (ETH) 4 2:09:48
3 Chebet, Wilson (KEN) 8 2:10:22
4 Kipyego, Bernard (KEN) 11 2:10:47
5 Korir, Wesley (KEN) 10 2:10:49
6 Chepkwony, Frankline (KEN) 9 2:10:52
7 Ritzenhein, Dathan (USA) 14 2:11:20
8 Keflezighi, Meb (USA) 1 2:12:42
9 Tola, Tadese (ETH) 5 2:13:35
10 Shafar, Vitaliy (UKR) 16 2:13:52
11 Tegenkamp, Matt (USA) 22 2:13:52
12 Eggleston, Jeffrey (USA) 19 2:14:17
13 April, Lusapho (RSA) 15 2:16:25
14 Arciniaga, Nicholas (USA) 20 2:18:02
15 Goffi, Danilo (ITA) 76 2:18:44
16 Canaday, Sage (USA) 28 2:19:12
17 Zyryanov, Sergey (RUS) 54 2:19:17
18 Chavez, Chris (USA) 29 2:20:04
19 Macpherson, Scott (USA) 27 2:20:25
20 Zablocki, Christopher (USA) 33 2:20:35
21 Hasegawa, Kiyokatsu (JPN) 26 2:20:42
22 Zywicki, Benjamin (USA) 32 2:21:10
23 Viau-Dupuis, Philippe (CAN) 41 2:21:16
24 Sanca, Ruben (CPV) 35 2:21:58
25 Cabada, Fernando (USA) 21 2:22:05
26 Richards, Malcolm (USA) 24 2:22:30
27 Atkins, Cole (USA) 53 2:23:21

Additional results for the 2015 Boston Marathon will show up here once they are available. We will post leading results below when we get them.

More: Women’s Race Recap

Analysis: LRC 9 Takeaways From The 2015 Boston Marathon – Desi And Ritz Lead Late, One Of Meb’’ Gutsiest Races Ever, Teg Doesn’t Like The Marathon + America’s Next Great Marathon Star? It was a tremendous foot race in Boston with some American drama before Caroline Rotich pulled the huge upset and Desisa showed he is boss.

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