Kenyan runner Evans Chebet wins 2022 Boston Marathon in race's return to Patriots' Day

BOSTON -- Evans Chebet of Kenya won the Boston Marathon on Monday as the race returned to its traditional Patriots' Day spot in the schedule for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The men's lead pack of about 20 was winnowed to two as it came out of Heartbreak Hill, then Chebet pulled away from Gabriel Geay of Tanzania with about 4 miles to go to win in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 51 seconds.

American Daniel Romanchuk won his second career men's wheelchair title in 1:26:58. Switzerland's Manuela Schar won her second straight Boston crown and fourth overall, finishing in 1:41:08.

Sharing a weekend with the Red Sox home opener -- the city's other sporting rite of spring -- more than 28,000 runners returned to the streets from Hopkinton to Copley Square six months after a smaller and socially distanced event that was the only fall race in its 126-year history.

Fans waved Ukrainian flags in support of the few dozen runners whose 26.2-mile run from Hopkinton to Copley Square was the easiest part of their journey. Athletes from Russia and Belarus were disinvited in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

More than 40 Ukrainians had registered for the race, but the Russian invasion prevented many from making it to the starting line. Ukraine has barred most men from leaving the country in case they're needed for military service. Only a few received special permission to run in Boston.

Ukrainians who were unable to make it to Boston were offered a deferral or refund.

"I decided to come here and show that Ukrainians are strong, we're fighting and we hope peace will come soon,'' said Dmytro Molchanov, a Ukrainian who lives in New York.

"It's really tough, basically, being here while all my family, my friends and Ukrainians are fighting over there for peace in my country, in Europe and the world overall,'' said Molchanov, who finished in 2:39:20, the fastest time among about a dozen Ukrainian citizens in the field.

"When it was really tough I tried not to give up and tried pushing, kind of fight with myself the way Ukrainians are fighting against Russia right now.''

The 125th race was first postponed, then called off because of the pandemic -- the first cancellation since the event began in 1897. In 2021, it was as postponed until October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.