With the names of the four victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon attack written on his bib, on Monday Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the iconic Boston event since Greg Meyer in 1983.
The 38-year-old Keflezighi, who emigrated from Eritrea at age 12, won the race in a personal best 2:08:37. On the women's side, Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won her third Boston title, finishing in a course record 2:18:57.
Keflezighi's biggest previous victories included the 2009 New York City Marathon and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. He also earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. Keflezighi started Monday's race quickly, leading by as much as a minute shortly before the halfway mark. Kenyans Wilson Chebet (2:08:48) and Frankline Chepkwony (2:08:50) rallied toward the end but started from too far behind and had to settle for second and third place, respectively.
Another American, Shalane Flanagan, led the women's event early, but hopes for an American sweep faded as Flanagan dropped back about midway through the race. She eventually finished seventh in 2:22:02, the fastest Boston Marathon time ever posted by an American woman. Jeptoo took charge just after the halfway mark and maintained a secure lead for the rest of the race. The 2006 and 2013 Boston winner shattered the previous course record of 2:20:43 set by Margaret Okayo in 2002. The next three finishers also finished inside of Okayo's time, including Ethiopians Bezunesh Deba (2:19:59) and Mare Dibaba (2:20:35) plus Jemima Jelagat Sumgong of Kenya (2:20:41).
Could the IAAF World Championships be returning to North America? The event has visited Canada once - with Edmonton playing host in 2001 - but Eugene, Oregon has placed a bid for the 2019 Championships. If successful, Eugene would bring the outdoor World Championships to the United States for the first time. The U.S. played host to the World Indoor Championships in 1987, while Toronto brought the World Indoors to Canada in 1993. The outdoor World Championships will be held in Beijing in 2015 and London in 2017. Doha, Qatar and Barcelona, Spain have also bid for the 2019 Championships. A decision is due in November.
Two of the world's greatest distance runners - one British and one Ethiopian - made their marathon debuts in London on Sunday, but each was overshadowed by a pair of Kenyans.
Tirunesh Dibaba, a three-time Olympic gold medalist at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, ran with or near leaders all the way in the women's race before settling for third place. Kenya's Edna and Florence Kiplagat ran together over the final dozen kilometers, with two-time London runner-up Edna pulling away on the final straight to win in 2:20:21, with Florence following in 2:20:24 and Dibaba in 2:20:35.
Meanwhile, Mo Farah, who thrilled the British crowd by winning the 5,000 and 10,000 at the 2012 London Olympics, couldn't run with the men's leaders in Sunday's marathon. He also fell short of his goal - breaking Stephen Jones' British marathon record of 2:07:13. But it was still a record-setting day, as Kenya's Wilson Kipsang won the men's race in a course record 2:04:29. Kipsang broke Emmanuel Mutai's mark by 11 seconds to win his second London championship. Fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott was second in 2:04:55, with 2013 London winner Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia third in 2:06:30. Farah finished eighth in 2:08:21.
In other marathon news on Sunday, Eliud Kipchoge overcame a heavy wind to earn the victory in Rotterdam, in 2:05:00. Abebech Afework battled both the weather and an early dropped water bottle mishap to take the women's race in 2:27:50. Getu Feleke broke the course record on his way to victory in Vienna, in 2:05:41, with Anna Hahner winning the women's event in 2:28:59.
Kenenisa Bekele is one of the most successful distance runners of all time, with three Olympic gold medals, six World Championship golds - five outdoors and one indoor - plus 11 World Cross Country Championship gold medals. But he took on a new challenge last Sunday, as the 31-year-old ran his first marathon, in Paris, and won the race in a course record 2:05:04. Bekele wasn't challenged for about the last dozen kilometers - fellow Ethiopian Limenih Getachew eventually took second in 2:06:49 - but even without being pushed Bekele still posted the sixth-best marathon debut in history. Flomena Cheyech of Kenya won the women's race in 2:22:44.
The rarely-run 4 x 1500-meter relay has a new women's world record as of April 5. The Kenyan quartet of Anne Karingi, Margaret Chelimo, Eunice Sum and Hellen Obiri finished the event in 17:08.17 at the Athletics Kenya Relay Series meet in Nairobi. A University of Tennessee team set the former mark of 17:08.34 in 2009.
Two streaks ended at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen last Saturday, with Zarsenay Tadese involved in both. Tadese had posted five victories and one runner-up finish in the previous six Championships, but the Eritrean missed the podium in Copenhagen by finishing fourth in 59:38. Three other runners pulled away from Tadese and the rest of the pack in the final 6 km, with Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang taking the gold medal in 59:08. Samuel Tsegay of Eritrea edged Ethiopia's Guye Adola for second place, as both runners were credited with a time of 59:21.
The other broken streak was Kenya's tally of six consecutive team championships. Led by Tsegay, Tadese and fifth-place Nguse Amlosom (1:00.00), Eritrea gained the team title in Copenhagen.
It was all Kenya on the women's side as Gladys Cherono led an unprecedented one-nation sweep of the top five places, winning the race in 1:07.29. Kenyans Mary Wacera (1:07.44), Sally Chepyego (1:07.52), Lucy Kabuu (1:08.37) and Mercy Jerotich (1:08.42) took second through fifth to easily give Kenya the women's team championship. The top non-Kenyan was Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, who was sixth in 1:08.46.
As the outdoor track and field season approaches, you can look back at the World Indoor Championships held in Sopot earlier this month. Check out the men's and women's medalists, or review the men's and women's sprints; men's and women's middle distance events and the men's and women's jumps. Reviews of the shot put and multi-events competitions will be posted within the next few days.
The United States led all nations in total medals at the World Indoor Championships this month, earning eight gold medals along with two silvers and two bronze medals. It's the 10th time in 16 Championships that the U.S. has led the medals count, dating back to the World Indoor Games in 1985. Russia won the medals list the other six years. The dozen medals was actually lower than average for the U.S., which has only earned fewer than 12 medals five times.
Great Britain was second in overall medals this year, with six, including one gold and two silver medals. Tied for third at five medals were Russia (3 gold, 2 silver), Ethiopia (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) and Jamaica (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze). This is the first time that either Russia or the former Soviet Union failed to finish in the top two in the medals count. Russia/USSR had also never earned fewer than seven medals at the World Indoor Championships.
A total of 30 countries earned at least one medal in Sopot, with 17 nations earning at least one gold medal. Ayanleh Souleiman's victory in the men's 1500 meters gave Djibouti its first-ever World Indoor Championships medal. Mutaz Essa Barshim earned Qatar its first World Indoor gold medal by winning the men's high jump. Ivana Spanovic placed third in the women's long jump to give Serbia its initial World Indoor medal.
The final event of the World Indoor Championships produced the meet's only world record, as the United States broke its own world indoor mark in the men's 4 x 400-meter relay. The team of Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler and Calvin Smith finished in 3:02.13, to break the official mark of 3:02.83 set by the American squad at the 1999 World Indoor final. An American all-star team posted a time of 3:01.96 in 2006, but the result wasn't ratified for record purposes because there was no EPO drug testing after the race.
The British team actually held a narrow lead after one leg on Sunday as Conrad Williams passed the baton just before Clemons handed off to Verburg. But the second American quickly moved in front and the U.S. never trailed again. Butler maintain the lead, although both Great Britain and Jamaica remained within striking distance. But neither nation could overcome Smith, who posted a split time of 45.12 seconds. The British squad took the silver in 3:03.49 while Jamaica gained the bronze in a national indoor record time of 3:03.69.
The start of the women's 4 x 400-meter relay race confusing but the ending was no surprise. The first two starts were waved off due to an apparent technical problem with Jamaica's starting block. The runners then stood up from line on the third try due to crowd noise in support of Ivan Ukhov in the high jump. But the difficulty didn't upset veteran Natasha Hastings, who gave the United States the lead after the first leg. Joanna Atkins opened the gap much wider with a 50.85-second split on the next leg. Francena McCorory finished her leg in 50.36 to maintain the American advantage and Cassandra Tate ran by herself as the U.S. gained the victory in 3:24.82, the fourth best indoor time in history. Jamaica placed second in a national and Commonwealth indoor record 3:26.54, while Great Britain placed third in 3:27.90.
To nobody's surprise, Genzebe Dibaba pulled away from the field in the final laps to win the women's 3000-meter gold medal in 8:55.04. A very slow early pace left the Ethiopian with no opportunity to challenge for another world record, after setting three indoor world marks early in the season. Dibaba patiently jogged from the back of the field up to second place during the early laps. By the 2000-meter mark Dibaba was in her accustomed spot in front of the field and wasn't going to be caught. Kenya's Hellen Obiri took second in 8:57.72 while Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain finished in 8:59.16 to gain third place.
Three-time champion Bernard Lagat made a strong bid for another World Indoor gold medal, but youth was served in the men's 3000-meter final. The race featured a slow early pace until Kenya's Caleb Ndiku moved in front with a bit less than three laps remaining. Lagat remained in the middle of the pack, then charged into second at the bell. He chased Ndiku around the track during the final lap but the 39-year-old American couldn't catch the 21-year-old Kenyan. Ndiku crossed the line in 7:54.94, while Lagat became the oldest men's World Indoor Championships medalist by taking second in 7:55.22. Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel (7:55.39) then held off American Galen Rupp (7:55.84) for the bronze medal.
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar scored a mild upset in the men's high jump final by defeating Russia's Ukhov, who dominated indoor high jumping prior to the Championships. Barshim was perfect in his first seven jumps, through 2.38 meters (7 feet, 9¾ inches). A confident Ukhov was unblemished through 2.34/7-8, having passed at two heights, then passed again at 2.36/7-8¾. But Ukhov missed twice before clearing at 2.38 to fall behind Barshim. Neither man could clear 2.40/7-10½, leaving Barshim with the gold, as well as the Asian indoor world record. Ukraine's Andriy Protsenko cleared 2.36 and was in silver medal position until Ukhov survived at 2.38, leaving Protsenko with the bronze.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made her World Indoor Championships debut successful by winning the 60 meters in a world-leading and personal best 6.98 seconds. The Jamaican, who already owned five major outdoor individual gold medals, started fast and added a sixth big-time gold to her Olympic and outdoor World Championships total. She's also the second runner, along with teammate Veronica Campbell-Brown, to win world titles in the outdoor 100 and 200 plus the indoor 60 meters. Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast was second in Sunday's final, finishing in 7.01, while American Tianna Bartoletta (formerly Madison) took third in 7.06.
American Omo Osaghae gained a razor-thin edge after the final hurdle and out-leaned France's Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in the 60-meter hurdles final. Osaghae took the gold in a world-leading 7.45, followed by Martinot-Lagarde (7.46) and fellow Frenchman Garfield Darien (a personal best 7.47).
Eloyse Lesueur of France leapfrogged from second to first in the fourth round to earn the women's long jump gold medal. Lesueur led after one round with a leap of 6.72/22-½, but Great Britain's Katrina Johnson-Thompson took charge in the next round after jumping a personal best 6.81/22-4. The distance held until Lesueur's winning leap of 6.85/22-5½. Serbia's Ivana Spanovic settled into third place in the opening round and never left the spot, eventually reaching 6.77/22-2½ on her final try to secure the bronze.
The women's pole vault featured the deepest field in World Indoor Championships history, with nine women topping 4.55/14-11 and seven clearing 4.65/15-3. Yarisley Silva of Cuba was the only surviving vaulter with a miss at 4.65, so she sat in seventh place, but leaped into first as the only competitor to clear 4.70/15-5 on her first try. American Jenn Suhr had opened by clearing at 4.65 but passed at 4.70, a decision that may have cost her a medal as she - like the rest of the field - failed to clear 4.75/15-7. That left Silva as the gold medalist, while Russia's Anzhelika Sidorova and Jirina Svobodova of the Czech Republic shared the silver medal, as both cleared 4.70 on their second tries.
American Chanelle Price went straight to the front and never left in the women's 800-meter final, winning the race in a world-leading 2:00.09. Price set a fast pace with a 27.88-second opening lap, then eased off the gas a bit, but responded to every challenge on the final lap. She's the first American woman to win a World Championship 800-meter gold medal, either indoors or outdoors. Chasing Price to the finish line were Poland's Angelika Cichocka, who took the silver in 2:00.45, and bronze medalist Marina Arzamasova of Belarus, who finished in a personal best 2:00.79.
In the men's 800, event favorite Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia had to fight from the back before earning the gold in 1:46.40. Aman made his initial move in the last half of the race, advancing to third behind Polish home-crowd favorites Marcin Lewandowski and Adam Kszczot. Aman needed almost the entire last lap to get past the Poles, finally getting clear coming out of the final turn. Kszczot took second in 1:46.76 with Lewandowski running 1:47.09 to hold off hard-charging British runner Andrew Osagie by one-hundredth of a second. After the race, however, Lewandowski was disqualified for stepping onto the infield, giving Osagie the bronze medal.
Russia's Lyukman Adams soared from third place to first in a dramatic final round to win the men's triple jump. Adams sat in second after two rounds, trailing the then-world-leading 17.33/56-10¼ jump of Cuba's Ernesto Reve. But Reve had to drop out of the competition after injuring himself in the third round. Pedro Pichardo leaped 17.24/56-6¾ in the sixth round to move into second and set up a potential 1-2 Cuban finish, but Adams, in the event's last jump, leaped 17.37/56-9¾ to take the gold.
The originally-announced results from Saturday's women's 1500-meter final were changed as third-place finisher Rababe Arafi of Morocco was disqualified for a lane violation. Canada's Nicole Sifuentes moves up from fourth to third to claim the bronze medal.
Ashton Eaton was probably the most disappointed-looking world champion we'll ever see, after wrapping up the heptathlon gold medal at the World Indoor Championships Saturday evening in Sopot, Poland. Eaton needed to run 2:33.54 in the final heptathlon event, the 1,000 meters, to break his indoor world record. Eaton dropped behind the required pace and rallied furiously on the last lap but fell short, posting a time of 2:34.72. He gained 933 points for a total of 6,632, the second-best score in history, just 13 short of his 2012 world mark. Still, Eaton won the gold by a huge 329 points, ahead of Andrey Krauchanka of Belarus at 6,303 and Thomas van der Plaetsen of Belgium at 6,259. The silver and bronze medalists both set national indoor records.
Nia Ali of the U.S. scored the biggest upset of the Championships so far by edging Sally Pearson to take the gold in the 60-meter hurdles. Ali, running next to Pearson, finished in a personal best 7.80 seconds. Pearson led out of the blocks but faded just a bit toward the end and clipped the final hurdle to take second in 7.85. Pearson just held off Great Britain's Tiffany Porter, who took the bronze medal in 7.86. Just one-tenth of second separated first through fifth places, with France's Cindy Billaud finishing fourth in 7.89 and American Janay DeLoach Soukup fifth in 7.90.
The men's straight 60 meters was even closer, with just nine-tenths of a second separating all eight competitors. After an agonizing wait for the official results, Great Britain's Richard Kilty celebrated the victory in a time of 6.49 seconds. Kilty entered the year with an indoor personal best of 6.62, then lowered it to 6.53 in his opening heat and 6.52 in the semifinal before his victory Saturday evening. American Marvin Bracy - a 20-year-old who bounced back from a shaky 6.60 performance in his initial heat - was second in 6.51, while Qatar's Femi Ogunode was third in 6.52.
Sweden's Abeba Aregawi was as big a favorite as there was in the Championships, so it was no surprise that she dominated the 1500-meter final. Aregawi took charge by the 600-meter mark and ran off by herself, crossing the line in 4:00.61. The other two medalists posted personal bests. Axumawit Embaye of Ethiopia finished second in 4:07.12 while Rababe Arafi of Morocco narrowly gained the bronze in 4:07.53, just ahead of Canada's Nicole Sifuentes, who ran a national indoor record 4:07.61. American Heather Kampf, the original leader, was slowed by a collision and finished ninth.
Valerie Adams was as much a favorite in the shot put as Aregawi was in the 1500, and the New Zealander also lived up to expectations. Adams threw all five legal attempts past the 20-meter mark and won her third World Indoor title with a fifth-round attempt of 20.67 meters (67 feet, 9¾ inches). Germany's Christina Schwanitz settled into second place after round 1 and stayed there, eventually reaching 19.94/65-5 in the fifth round to take the silver. China's Gong Liljao moved into third place with a fourth-round toss measuring 19.24/63-1½, which stood up for the bronze medal.
The women's triple jump medals were basically decided in the second round, when Ekaterina Koneva of Russia took the lead for good by leaping 14.46/47-5¼. She couldn't improve on her distance, but it held up to give her the gold medal. First-round leader Olga Saladuha of Ukraine led briefly in the second round at 14.38/47-2 before Kenova flew past. Saladuha eventually closed the gap with a 14.45/47-4¾ jump in round 4 but had to settle for the silver medal. Jamaica's Kimberly Williams also had leads early in the first and second rounds before settling into the third spot in round 2. Williams reached 14.39/47-2½ in the final round to wrap up the bronze.
Konstadinos Filippidis of Greece was perfect through 5.80/19-¼ to earn the pole vault gold medal. Germany's Malte Mohr missed just once - his first try at 5.80 - but that was enough to drop him into the silver medal slot. Jan Kudlicka of the Czech Republic was the third vaulter to clear 5.80 - a personal best in his case - but he did so on his third try, leaving him with the bronze. Kudlicka leapfrogged from fourth to third over Brazil's Thiago Braz da Silva with his clearance at 5.80.
Maria Kuchina of Russia and Poland's Kamila Licwinko finished in a tie for the women's high jump title, as both had identical performances. The result produced the first-ever gold medal tie in World Indoor Championships history, as the women agreed to share the title. Both women, plus Spain's Ruth Beitia, cleared 2.00/6-6¾. Licwinko, the first Polish woman to win a World Indoor gold medal, and Kuchina both missed once at 1.97/6-5½ but were otherwise perfect until missing three times at 2.02/6-7½. Beitia cleared 2.00 on her second try, leaving her with the bronze. Blanka Vlasic, trying to come back from two years of health problems, cleared 1.94/6-4¼ but missed three times at 1.97.
Francena McCorory was fourth midway through the women's 400-meter final, but she powered around the outside, passed three runners at the start of the back straight and pulled away to win the race in 51.12. Veteran Jamaican 400-meter hurdler Kaliese Spencer was second in a personal best 51.54 while Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas took third in 52.06. Like McCorory, Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic started the men's race in lane 5. Unlike McCorory, Maslak started fast and took the lead when the runners left their lanes. He remained ahead to win in a national record 45.24. Chris Brown of the Bahamas was second in a personal best 45.58, while American Kyle Clemons charged hard down stretch to place third in 45.74.
In the men's 1500-meter final, Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti took the early lead and fought off all passing attempts throughout the race. He didn't falter down the stretch and earned the gold medal with a time of 3:37.52. Among those challenging for the lead was Ethiopia's Aman Wote, who settled for the silver in 3:38.08. Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco got the bronze in 3:38.21.
In a dramatic final attempt in the long jump, Brazil's Mauro da Silva soared 8.28/27-2 and leaped from fifth into first place with a national-record effort. Li Jinzhe of China, who led through the first five rounds, had to settle for second at 8.23/27-0, while Sweden's Michel Torneus was third at 8.21/2-11¼. Russia's Alexandr Menkov was a surprising fifth at 8.08/26-6. He dropped out after four jumps, possibly due to an injury, although none was reported officially.
The United States has earned four gold medals and six medals through two days, and is a good bet to add at least of pair of golds on Sunday, in the 4 x 400-meter relays. Five other countries have two medals apiece. Russia is the only other nation with multiple gold medals, with two so far.
Ashton Eaton of the United States essentially wrapped up the heptathlon title during Saturday's early session at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot. The only question is whether he'll break his own indoor world record of 6,645 points. Eaton led all eight competitors in the 60-meter hurdles Saturday, finishing in 7.64 seconds to earn 1,074 points. He tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 5.20 meters (17 feet, ¾ inch) on his third attempt to score 972 points, for a total of 5,699. The heptathlon concludes with the 1,000 meters in the evening session. Eaton needs 947 points to break his record, which translates to a 1,000-meter time of 2:33.54. His personal best is 2:32.67, which would net him 957 points and a new record. Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus is second in the heptathlon standings with 5,450 points while Belgium's Thomas Van Der Plaetsen sits in third with 5,391.
Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine and Russia's Daniil Tsyplakov were both perfect in high jump qualifying, clearing all four heights through 2.28/7-5¾. Event favorite Ivan Ukhov of Russia was also perfect, jumping twice and topping out at 2.25/7-4½. He passed at 2.28 but needed no further jumps when the remaining competitors were eliminated. Other notable qualifiers for Sunday's final include Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and American Erik Kynard.
Andrew Pozzi of Great Britain and Frenchmen Garfield Darien and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde were the leading qualifiers in the men's 60-meter hurdles heats, at 7.56 seconds. Pozzi edged Darien in the fourth heat while Martinot-Lagarde won his heat outright. Other heat winners were American Dominic Berger (7.61) and William Sharman of Great Britain (7.59). The semifinals are this afternoon.
Not surprisingly, event favorite Valerie Adams led all shot put qualifiers with a first-round toss of 20.11/65-11¾. Germany's Christina Schwanitz, Yuliya Leantsiuk of Belarus and American Michelle Carter also beat the automatic qualifying mark of 18.70/61-4¼ ahead of Saturday evening's final.
In the women's 60-meter heats, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast was the fastest qualifier at 7.09 seconds, but Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was close behind at 7.12. Other heat winners included Great Britain's Asha Philip (7.18), Verena Sailer of Germany (7.13), American Tianna Bartoletta (7.13) and Nigeria's Gloria Asumnu (7.19). The event concludes with the semifinals and the final on Sunday.
As expected, the United States led the six qualifiers in both the men's and women's 4 x 400-meter relay heats. On the men's side, the team of Clayton Parros, Ricky Babineaux, Kind Butler and Calvin Smith won the first heat in 3:04.36. Great Britain won the second heat in 3:06.09. The American women's quartet of Natasha Hastings, Jernail Hayes, Monica Hargrove and Cassandra Tate won its heat in 3:29.06, just ahead of Jamaica at 3:29.43. Great Britain won the opening women's heat. Both finals are set for Sunday.
Marian Oprea of Romania was the only triple jumper to top the automatic qualifying mark of 16.90/55-5¼, leaping 17.02/55-10 on his second try. Other qualifiers for Sunday's final include 2014 world leader Pedro Pichardo of Cuba and American Chris Carter.
Serbia's Ivana Spanovic led the women's long jump qualifiers with a leap measuring 6.77/22-2½. Darya Klishina of Russia was the only other jumper to beat the automatic qualifying distance of 6.70/21-11¾. Other qualifiers for Sunday's final include Shara Proctor of Great Britain and Tori Polk of the United States.