Hall, Keflezighi finish top 5 in Boston but still no American winner since 1983

By Jimmy Golen, AP
Monday, April 19, 2010

Americans closer, but still no win in Boston

BOSTON — Why was Ryan Hall smiling, even after finishing fourth in the Boston Marathon and failing to end an American title drought that reaches back to 1983?

Because the 27-year-old from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., ran the fastest time for an American in Boston.

Hall finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 41 seconds, almost 2½ minutes slower than his personal best from London in 2008 but still 6 seconds faster than a U.S. runner had completed the hilly course from Hopkinton to Copley Square. Hall finished third in Boston in 2:09:40 last year.

“Today my goal was to have fun and run free, and I feel like I did,” said Hall, who waved to the crowds on Boylston Street, perhaps costing himself a chance to catch Deriba Merga for third place. “I don’t think you can have too much fun out there. Running is not all about records and places. I love to run, and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Bob Kempainen, of Minnetonka, Minn., finished seventh in 1994 in 2:08:47.

Hall and reigning New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi gave the United State two top-five finishers, and with Jason Lehmkuhle of Minneapolis was ninth in 2:12:24.

No American has won New York and Boston back-to-back since Alberto Salazar won the 1982 Boston race during his streak of three straight New York wins in 1980-82.

UP IN THE AIR: Moroccan Olympian Abdellah Falil never made it to the Boston Marathon due to the travel chaos caused by an Icelandic volcano that erupted last week.

Seven of the race’s less heralded runners got a reprieve from the Boston Athletic Association when they were allowed to pick up their bib numbers on Monday morning.

Usually, the race closes registration on Sunday at 6 p.m., but an exception was made for Europeans with travel problems.

Thousands of flights were canceled throughout Europe when the volcano erupted last week and spewed ash into the air, making it unsafe for jet planes. Falil was repeatedly rescheduled before he withdrew early Sunday morning.

A total of 23,021 of the 26,735 runners who signed up for the race did make it to the starting line — about the same rate of no-shows as usual. But many European countries saw a sharp drop.

Only three of 39 Danes who signed up for the race did start, along with 20 percent of the French and British, one-third of the Germans and half of the Dutch, Irish and Swiss.

The Greeks, who had an unusually large contingent to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, 68 of 71 runners made it to the start.

There were only two runners from Iceland signed up.

Both started and finished.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: Actress Valerie Bertinelli ran the race as part of the Boston Athletic Association charity program, finishing in 5 hours, 14 minutes, 37 seconds.

The “One Day at a Time” star and ex-wife of rocker Eddie Van Halen as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge, which funds cancer research. She was among about 1,350 people who were expected to raise more than $10 million this year for charities.

That would put the program, which provides bib numbers in exchange for a pledge to raise money, over $100 million since it began in 1989.

MAPQUEST: Women’s winner Teyba Erkesso didn’t have much time to waste at the finish of the Boston Marathon, with Tatyana Pushkareva closing fast.

But Erkesso, who had never run Boston before, almost made a wrong turn at the finish line before a police officer got her straightened out.

Erkesso may have been confused by a volunteer pointing to the right, to where race officials were holding up the winner’s tape. She veered too far to the right and appeared confused.

After a few hand gestures back and forth, the policeman directed her toward the chute, and Erkesso broke the tape with 3 seconds to spare. It was the third-closest women’s finish in marathon history.

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