Neck and neck sprint finishes to marathon races are rare. Even rarer, is us guys getting the chance to share them with you.
So when Lelisa Desisa and Lawerence Cherono gave us fireworks in the final few hundred metres of this year's Boston Marathon, we thought it as good a time as any to fill out our yearly marathon grandstand finish quotas.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) April 15, 2019
In the closest finish in the men's event in over 30 years, Ethiopian runner Desisa held a minuscule advantage over Kenyan Cherono with the finishing tape in sight.
As the latter's compatriot Kenneth Kipkemoi faded inside the last 300 yards at the 123rd running of the famous road-race, Desisa, 29, desperately tried to hold off his older opponent.
First came the stepping in front, then came the last-ditch arm flail and finally the brave stride for stride throw down, before eventually, Cherono outlasted his opponent in quite literally the last few centimetres. The official time sheet saw Cherono finish only a second ahead of his opponent, the winner crossing the line in 2:07:59 with Desisa completing in 2:08:00. Kipkemoi trundled in for third six seconds behind.
Ethiopia did at least get a winner in a one-sided women's affair, as Worknesh Degefa cruised to victory in a time of 2:23:31, more than 40 seconds clear of her nearest challenger.
Excellent 11th !! place for Fionnuala McCormack @bostonmarathon ; lifetime best of 2:30:38, 44 seconds faster than Rio, just off top-10 in marathon to qualify for @Tokyo2020 ... all six months after giving birth to daughter Isla... pic.twitter.com/rZ5dtxdHmZ
— Ian O'Riordan (@ianoriordan) April 15, 2019
Placing in eleventh was Irish runner Fionnuala McCormack, who continued her remarkable run of form since returning to the sport after giving birth to a daughter 6 months ago.
The 34-year-old smashed her personal best marathon time, coming home in 2:30:38. However, the time was over a minute shy for the qualifying standard needed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but maybe more agonisingly, only one place of automatic qualification by finishing inside the top ten in a major event.