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Top Americans take third in Boston

Ethiopia’s Merga, Kenya’s Kosgei win marathon

The race starter walks off the course as the elite men runners take their first step off the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon in Hopkington, Mass. Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga won the men’s race, Kenya’s Salina Kosgei won the women’s race, and Americans placed third in each race.

The race starter walks off the course as the elite men runners take their first step off the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon in Hopkington, Mass. Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga won the men’s race, Kenya’s Salina Kosgei won the women’s race, and Americans placed third in each race.

April 21, 2009

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— American Kara Goucher ripped off the gloves she wore for the first 25 miles and threw them to the pavement.

The sprint was on.

Kenya’s Salina Kosgei outkicked Goucher and defending champion Dire Tune in the last mile of the Boston Marathon on Monday, going back and forth with Tune in the final blocks of Boylston Street to win the closest women’s finish in event history.

Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga won the men’s race, with Ryan Hall picking up another third place for the Americans — their best showing in more than 20 years.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this, and I’ve been in the Rose Parade. So that’s a pretty big deal,” said Hall, who finished 10th in the Olympics and threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game over the weekend.

“The bar’s continuing to get raised, and I think it’s time for Americans to step up and meet the challenge. It’s just going to keep getting better and better and faster and faster. ... I know I have a lot to learn. But it’s exciting.”

Merga had pulled away by the bottom of Heartbreak Hill, winning in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 42 seconds — 50 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Daniel Rono of Kenya, with Hall another 8 seconds back.

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