Athletics - Kenya's Rita Jeptoo retains Boston Marathon title

Kenya's Rita Jeptoo notched her second consecutive win of the race, smashing a 12-year course record with a blistering official time of two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds after reeling in American Shalane Flanagan.

Athletics - Kenya's Rita Jeptoo retains Boston Marathon title

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Rita Jeptoo (KEN) crosses the finish line to win the women's 2014 Boston Marathon (Reuters)

Flanagan had led the women for the first 20 miles of the 26.2-mile (42.2-km) race, setting a punishing pace, before dropping back and finishing seventh.

"I love Boston so much and I really wanted to do it for this city," said a tearful Flanagan, who was raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts. "I'm so sad I couldn't do it for Boston."

Last year, three people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed and 264 were hurt when, prosecutors say, a pair of ethnic Chechen brothers left homemade bombs at the crowded finish line, tearing through the crowd.

Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia was second and compatriot Mare Dibaba third. They too turned in faster performances than the previous course record of 2:20:43 set in 2002 by Margaret Okayno of Kenya.

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