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Triumph, then tragedy, at the Boston Marathon

  • Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon  in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.   Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Runners who were diverted from the race course walk on the Commonwealth Mall two blocks from the site of an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.  Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others.  (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    Runners who were diverted from the race course walk on the Commonwealth Mall two blocks from the site of an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people assist an injured after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

    In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people assist an injured after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Medical workers aid an injured woman at the scene of a bomb blast near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at scores of others  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Medical workers aid an injured woman at the scene of a bomb blast near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at scores of others (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring at least 23 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring at least 23 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, breaks the finish line tape to win the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, breaks the finish line tape to win the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • An unidentified Boston Marathon runner is comforted as she cries in the aftermath of two blasts which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    An unidentified Boston Marathon runner is comforted as she cries in the aftermath of two blasts which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Elite mens marathoners including Levy Matebo, fourth from left, and Markos Geneti, front right, run in the 117th Boston Marathon in Wellesley, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    Elite mens marathoners including Levy Matebo, fourth from left, and Markos Geneti, front right, run in the 117th Boston Marathon in Wellesley, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Jacqueline Benson shoots the starting piston for the elite womens start of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

    Jacqueline Benson shoots the starting piston for the elite womens start of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people help an injured person after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

    In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people help an injured person after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

    In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

    In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Justine Franco of Montpelier, Vt., holds up a sign near Copley Square in Boston looking for her missing friend, April, who was running in her first Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

    Justine Franco of Montpelier, Vt., holds up a sign near Copley Square in Boston looking for her missing friend, April, who was running in her first Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

  • People react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe,  John Tlumacki)

    People react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki)

  • This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Braden Smith of Cocord tags Jake Welch of Londonderry out at home plate; Monday, April 15, 2013.<br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

    Braden Smith of Cocord tags Jake Welch of Londonderry out at home plate; Monday, April 15, 2013.
    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

  • Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon  in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.   Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Runners who were diverted from the race course walk on the Commonwealth Mall two blocks from the site of an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.  Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others.  (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people assist an injured after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Medical workers aid an injured woman at the scene of a bomb blast near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at scores of others  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring at least 23 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, breaks the finish line tape to win the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • An unidentified Boston Marathon runner is comforted as she cries in the aftermath of two blasts which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Elite mens marathoners including Levy Matebo, fourth from left, and Markos Geneti, front right, run in the 117th Boston Marathon in Wellesley, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • Jacqueline Benson shoots the starting piston for the elite womens start of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people help an injured person after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT
  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT
  • In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo) MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Justine Franco of Montpelier, Vt., holds up a sign near Copley Square in Boston looking for her missing friend, April, who was running in her first Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 23 others. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
  • People react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe,  John Tlumacki)
  • This two image combination photograph shows Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, left, and Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, crossing the finish line to win the women's and men's division of the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Braden Smith of Cocord tags Jake Welch of Londonderry out at home plate; Monday, April 15, 2013.<br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

BOSTON – Two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday two hours after Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo crossed it to win the race. Three people were killed and at least 140 were injured.

Race volunteers and public officials rushed to the aid of wounded spectators, and the medical tent set up to care for fatigued runners was quickly converted to a trauma clinic. Runners and spectators were crying as they fled the billowing gray smoke rising from a running gear store overlooking the end of the course.

The explosion sent some runners tumbling to the pavement and others, already unsteady from the 26.2-mile run, were knocked down by those rushing toward the scene. A Rhode Island state trooper who ran in the race said the blasts tore limbs off dozens of people.

The blasts shattered the euphoria of what had been a pleasantly uneventful 117th edition of the world’s oldest and most prestigious annual marathon. Runners still on the course were diverted to the Boston Common; race officials said 4,496 runners had crossed the checkpoint at more than 24 miles but did not make it to the finish line.

A year after record high temperatures sent unprecedented numbers of participants to the medical tent, temperatures in the high 40s greeted the field of 23,326 at the Hopkinton starting line. It climbed to 54 degrees by the time the winners reached Boston’s Copley Square.

Desisa, of Ethiopia, won a three-way sprint down Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds and snap a string of three consecutive Kenyan victories.

“Here we have a relative newcomer,” said Ethiopia’s Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who finished third

In just his second race at 26.2 miles, Desisa finished five seconds ahead of Kenya’s Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the traditional olive wreath. American Jason Hartmann finished fourth for the second year in a row.

“The Ethiopians run very good tactical races,” defending champion Wesley Korir, a Kenyan citizen and U.S. resident, said after finishing fifth. “One thing I always say is, ‘Whenever you see more than five Ethiopians in a race, you ought to be very careful.’ As Kenyans, we ought to go back to the drawing board and see if we can get our teamwork back.”

Jeptoo, 32, averted the Keynan shutout by winning the women’s race for the second time. Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, finished in 2:26:25 for her first victory in a major race since taking two years off after having a baby.

After a series of close finishes in the women’s race – five consecutive years with three seconds or less separating the top two – Jeptoo had a relatively comfortable 33-second margin over Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia. Defending champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya was another three seconds back.

Shalane Flanagan, of nearby Marblehead, was fourth in the women’s division in her attempt to earn the first American victory in Boston since 1985. (Two-time winner Joan Benoit Samuelson, running on the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory, finished in 2:50:29 to set a world record for her age group.)

“The hardest part about Boston is the Bostonians want it just as bad as we do, which really tugs at our heart,” said Flanagan, a three-time Olympian. “We all want it, too. We want to be the next Joanie.”

Kara Goucher, of Portland, Ore., was sixth for her third top 10 finish in Boston in as many tries. The last American woman to win there was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in ’85; Greg Meyer was the last U.S. man to win, in ’83.

“There’s just more pure numbers of African runners,” said Goucher, who noted that the field of five American women with personal bests under 2:30 was the strongest in years.

“That’s a good team of American women,” she said. “One day the opportunity is going to be there.”

This year it was the men’s race with the sprint to the finish.

Desisa, 23, was among a group of nine men – all from Kenya or Ethiopia – who broke away from the pack in the first half of the race. There were three remaining when they came out of Kenmore Square with a mile to go.

But Desisa quickly pulled away and widened his distance in the sprint to the tape. It’s Desisa’s second victory in as many marathons, having won in Dubai in January in 2:04:45.

Japan’s Hiroyuki Yamamoto was the first winner of the day, cruising to victory in the men’s wheelchair race by 39 seconds over nine-time champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa. Tatyana McFadden, a Russian orphan who attends the University of Illinois, won the women’s race.

Race day got started with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A little more than two hours later, the lead runners passed the Mile 26 marker, which was decorated with the Newtown, Conn., seal and dedicated to the memory of those killed there.

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