WASHINGTON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Japanese veteran Yuki Kawauchi and American Desiree Linden claimed the men's and women's titles respectively at the Boston Marathon under wet and chilly conditions on Monday.
Kawauchi marked the first win by a Japanese man in Boston since Toshihiko Seko in 1987. "Seko's win was the year I was born," Kawauchi noted after the race, "so I can't help but see the hand of fate."
Linden, similarly, was the first US woman to win in Boston since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985.
Strong headwinds, heavy rain, and temperatures hovering just a few degrees above freezing combined with the notoriously challenging course to give Kawauchi and Linden relatively slower winning times of 2:15:58 and 2:39:54 apiece. Both athletes also benefited from the toll the conditions took on their competitors.
Kawauchi's was the slowest winning time since 1976; Linden's was the slowest women's winning time since 1978.
"When I took the lead," the Japanese runner said. "I didn't know I had. I didn't see who it was I had passed."
He discovered he was the leader as he approached the finish line, where he had been told winners would be waved to the right, others to the left. The volunteers waved him to the right. "Then I knew," the 31-year-old said.
Kawauchi is best known for his prolific racing career, finishing 12 marathons in 2017 and winning five of them. He has won more than 30 marathons in his career, the highlight probably being his victory at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in 2013 and a third place in Tokyo in 2011.
Defending champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya took second in 2:18:23, with US runner Shadrack Biwott third in 2:18:35.
In women's event, the 34-year-old Linden finally got her job done after her second-place finish at the 2011 edition. She said the Boston Marathon is one of the best in the world.
"I love the race, I love this city. It's storybook. I'm thrilled to be here and win the race," Linden said.
Linden was followed by compatriot Sarah Sellers in 2:44:04, more than four minutes later. Third place went to Canada's Krista Duchene.
This year marked the 122nd edition of the most famous marathon in the world. 27,048 runners crossed the starting line.