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 another 30 seconds back to round out an all-Ethiopian men’s top three.
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.
Image: Atsede Baysa, left, and Lemi Berhanu Hayle, both of Ethiopia, pose for photos after they won the women’s and men’s divisions of the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18, 2016, in Boston. (AP/Elise Amendola)