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Merga and Kosgei set to defend titles

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  February 10, 2010 12:47 PM

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2009 Boston Marathon champions Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya will return to defend their titles for the 114th running of the race on April 19.

Past champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia are also signed on for the race according to the release sent by John Hancock Financial.

In the 2009 men’s race, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia clipped Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot’s three-in-a-row streak and ran away from the lead pack in the Newton hills, unchallenged to the finish. Merga is just one of three Ethiopians to interrupt Kenyan dominance of the event over the past two decades.

Cheruiyot, a four-time Boston winner and the 2:07:14 course record holder, is back again, fresh from a runner-up spot in New York City. The formidable Kenyan shares the honor of at least four Boston wins with Gerard Cote and Bill Rodgers (4 wins each) and Clarence DeMar (7 wins).

In the 2009 women’s race, Salina Kosgei was challenged every step of the way by a determined Dire Tune who sought to defend her 2008 title. In the closest finish ever recorded, Kosgei edged an exhausted Tune at the tape to win by one second. The year before, Tune was on the winning end of the finish sprint as she dueled to the wire with Russian Alevtina Biktimirova, prevailing by two seconds.

Challenging Kosgei and Tune are former winners Lidiya Grigoryeva and Catherine Ndereba. A year after winning the 2007 “Nor’easter” Boston Marathon, Grigoryeva brilliantly won over a highly competitive field in Chicago. And “Catherine the Great” needs no reintroduction to Boston as she has written the history books here as the only woman to ever win four times. Ndereba is the second fastest woman marathoner of all time (2:18:47) and has earned two Olympic silver medals and two World Marathon Championship titles.

Information from John Hancock Financial was used in this update.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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