Lelisa Desisa wins Boston Half
BOSTON -- Reigning Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the Boston Half on Sunday in a course-record time of 1 hour, 34 seconds.
It was the third race of the Boston Medley since the bombing in April at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260.
In June, the 23-year old Desisa donated his marathon medal to the city of Boston to honor those who were killed and injured.
"I like Boston and the people of Boston," he said Sunday, standing about 25 yards from the finish line. "I am a Bostonian now."
Kenyans Daniel Salel and Stephen Sambu entered the stadium side by side. They finished in the same time of 1:00:41, but Sambu won the $100,000 prize for the lowest combined time in the 5K, 10K and Half of the Boston Medley.
"I was planning to go with them all the time," said Sambu, who added he'd like to spend some of his prize money to buy a water purifier for his town.
Kim Smith of New Zealand easily defended her title in 1:09:14. She also earned the $100,000 prize for the lowest combined time.
She entered the day with 1 minute, 11 second lead over Kenya's Millicent Kuria, who finished fifth in 1:13:53. The 31-year-old Smith broke away from the pack early and beat Abeze Kiros of Ethiopia by 49 seconds. Alice Kimutai of Kenya was third in 1:10:37.
"My coach told me to try to run as easy as I could the first 10 miles," Smith said. "Then I went out hard and figured if I could get rid of them early it, would be less pressure for that $100,000."
Smith's parents traveled from New Zealand and watched her race in Boston for the first time.
"They came a long way, so I had to put on a good show," said Smith, breaking into a smile.
The top five finishers in the men's and women's field beat the previous course record on a cool, sunny day. The race winds through Boston's Emerald Park.