Kawauchi and Linden record shock wins in Boston Marathon

Desiree Linden of the U.S. crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 122nd Boston Marathon in Boston
Desiree Linden of the U.S. crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 122nd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

April 16, 2018

(Reuters) – Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi and America’s Desiree Linden earned stunning victories in a wet and windy Boston Marathon on Monday.

Kawauchi ran down defending champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya to win in two hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds. He is the first Japanese man to win the event since 1987.

Linden, winning her first marathon, ended a 33-year drought for American women to prevail in 2:39.54 as runners, many clad in rain tops, endured heavy rain and temperatures in the 40s (4C).

An American woman had not won the historic race since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.

The 31-year-old Kawauchi, known as the citizen runner because he also has a full-time job, overtook Kirui in the closing mile after the Kenyan appeared to have the race in hand, leading by more than a minute at times.

But the Japanese runner, who has competed in more than 80 marathons and led in the early stages of the race, always stayed in contention before taking control around the 25-mile mark.

Kirui took second place in 2:18.23 with American Shadrack Biwott third in 2:18:35.

Sara Sellers finished second to 34-year-old Linden, more than four minutes adrift on 2:44.04, as U.S. women took seven of the top 10 places.

Canada’s Krista Duchene claimed third in 2:44.20 with defending champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya fading to ninth.

Swiss Marcel Hug won his fourth consecutive wheelchair division, clocking 1:46:26 to beat South African Ernst Van Dyk (1:47:14).

American Tatyana McFadden, who was making her comeback, surged to a dominant victory in the women’s wheelchair race, winning in 2:04:39 over compatriot Susannah Scaroni {2:20:01).

The victory was the fifth in six years for McFadden, who experienced blood clot issues during the 2017 season and finished fourth in Boston.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris)