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Ibrahim Hussein of Kenya won his second Boston title in four years (2:11:06) and Wanda Panfil of Poland became the world's No. 1 ranked female with her first Boston win (2:24:18). Ken Judson of Pennsylvania (2:18:11) and Graziella Striuli of Italy (2:37:01) were the masters division champions. The largest wheelchair field assembled in the history of the race started at Hopkinton with 71 official racers. Jean Driscoll won in world record time (1:42:42), trimming her previous course record and world best set in 1990 by 35 seconds. Driscoll received a grand total of $26,000, the largest amount ever awarded in the wheelchair division. Jim Knaub established an American record of 1:30:44.
Ibrahim Hussein won for the third time as he broke away from the lead pack at Heartbreak Hill. His time was the second fastest ever at Boston (2:08:14), and caused him to break down in tears on the awards platform. Only 23 years old, the Russian-born Olga Markova passed pre-race favorite and defending champion Wanda Panfil of Poland en route to a winning time of 2:23:43. Defending champions Jim Knaub of California and Jean Driscoll of Illinois posted world bests of 1:26:28 and 1:36:52, respectively. Pierre Levisse of France and Anne Roden of Great Britain took top honors in the masters division.
A late surge by Cosmas Ndeti of Kenya made it possible for him to win the 97th Boston Marathon in a time of 2:09:33 - the fifth African winner in six years. A relative unknown, Ndeti ran the second half of the race faster than the first half, becoming the first champion to negative split the course since Rob de Castella in 1986. Olga Markova of Russia returned to Boston where she repeated as champion in 2:25:27. Jean-Michel Charbonnel of France and Bernardine Portenski from New Zealand captured the men's and women's masters fields, respectively. For the second year in a row, wheelchair athletes Jim Knaub of California and Jean Driscoll of Illinois set world records on the Boston course. They each received $17,500 in bonus money, increasing the total of wheelchair bonuses to $182,500 since 1986.
Several records fell during this record setting year. In the men's open division, Cosmas Ndeti held off Andres Espinosa of Mexico by 20 yards. Ndeti broke Rob de Castella's 1986 course record of 2:07:51 with his 2:07:15 - four seconds ahead of Espinosa. Germany's Uta Pippig (2:21:45) finished the racewell ahead of Joan Benoit's 1983 course record of 2:22:43. The wheelchair division featured world-record performances by Jean Driscoll of Illinois, winning her fifth consecutive Boston Marathon (1:34:22), and Switzerland's Heinz Frei (2:21:23). Doug Kurtis (2:15:48) of Michigan and Emma Scaunich (2:33:36) of Italy led the masters divisions. In all, $572,500 was awarded in prize and bonus money.
Cosmas Ndeti's win (2:09:22) placed the Kenyan among the rarefied rankings of Americans Clarence DeMar (1922-24) and Bill Rodgers (1978-80) as the only three-time consecutive winners in the men's open division. The returning champion in the women's field, Uta Pippig of Germany, triumphed over windy conditions and a foot injury for a repeat win (2:25:11), leaving South Africa's Elana Meyer as the runner-up. In the wheelchair competition, Jean Driscoll of Illinois established a record with her sixth consecutive win (1:40:42), while Switzerland's Franz Nietlispach took home his first Boston title (1:25:59). Mexico's Martin Mondragon (2:16:29) and Russia's Irina Bondarchouk (2:43:42) captured the laurels in the masters division.
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