BOSTON - Kara Goucher was third in the women's race Monday in the 113th running of the Boston Marathon.
Salina Kosgei of Kenya won the women's race in a dramatic sprint finish, hitting the line in 2:32:16, one step and one second ahead of defending champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia in 2:32:17 and Goucher third in 2:32:25. Kosgei and Tune bumped elbows several times in the final meters, and Tune - who won hereby only 2 seconds in 2008 - collapsed just two steps after the finish.
Goucher was the first American woman to place in the top three since Kim Jones was second in 1993.
In 1985, a total of five Americans finished in the men's and women's top three in much less international and significantly slower races. Gary Tuttle (2:19:11) and Mark Helgeston (2:21:15) went 2-3 in the men's race and American women swept the top 10 places, led by Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach (2:34:06), Lynne Huntington (2:42:15) and Karen Dunn (2:42:27). American men occupied eight of the top 10 spots in that year.
Tactics rule women's race
The women's race began resembling nothing so much as a training run, with the entire elite pack coming through 1 mile in 6:25 and two in 12:28. Elva Dryer, Colleen De Reuck and Kara Goucher ran at or near the lead for much of the race as the pack came through 10 km in 37:05, 10 miles in 59:47 and the half marathon on 1:18:12.
Goucher remained with the leaders as De Reuck and Dyer dropped off the pace, but between miles 16 and 17, De Reuck came back to take the lead, shadowed by Goucher. After passing 18 miles in 1:47:05, Goucher took the lead five minutes later. Over the next six miles, the pace quickened as the pack shrank from 10 to five at 23 miles, which Goucher led in 2:15:29 after a 5:20 mile. The American threw down a 5:08 24th mile to make it a three-woman race between herself, Tune and Kosgei.
The final mile provided dramatic moments with nearly every stride. The two-time defending Millrose Games champion in the mile, Goucher ran at the head of the three-woman pack as they gathered themselves for a final sprint down Boylston Street. Just before the turn onto Boylston, Goucher appeared to begin laboring, drawing a groan of concern from the press room as she moved back to third.
With just over 800 meters to go, Goucher tossed off her gloves in her attempt to catch Tune and Kosgei. Although she expected to have kick left in her legs, Goucher could not match the strides of her competitors. At the finish, she was not consoled by her top-three placing.
"I'm proud of what I did," said Goucher, who held back tears as she described the amazing support received from family, friends, her coach and Nike. "I wanted it so much for them. I'm proud of how I did, and I raced the best I could. I just wanted to be the one who won for everybody."
A 45-year-old, four-time Olympian, the ageless De Reuck also finished in the top 10, finishing eighth in 2:35:37 as the top masters woman.