BOSTON – Let him be known from Hopkinton to Back Bay as “Robert the Younger,” the second Kenyan named Robert K. Cheruiyot to win the Boston Marathon and the first person to run the legendary course in under 2 hours, 6 minutes.

Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot won the 114th Boston race Monday, finishing in 2:05:52 to shatter by 82 seconds the course record set by four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who’s not related. American Ryan Hall, who finished third last year, missed another spot on the podium by 2 seconds, but his time of 2:08:41 was the fastest for a U.S. runner at Boston.

“Today was a breakthrough day,” said Hall, who was 6 seconds faster than Bob Kempainen in 1994. “Guys are paving new territory, and that’s good for us, too.”

Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso took the women’s title in 2:26:11, sprinting to the tape to win by 3 seconds in the third-closest women’s finish in event history. Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva smiled and waved at the TV cameras as she closed what had been a 90-second gap, but she could not quite catch Erkesso on Boylston Street.

Cheruiyot, 21, a farmer back home, surpassed the course record of 2:07:14 set in 2006 by his 31-year-old countryman to earn a bonus of $25,000 on top of the $150,000 that goes to the men’s and women’s champions.

“I am going to buy some cows,” Cheruiyot said.

The Cheruiyots are not the first namesakes to win in Boston.

When John J. Kelley won in 1957, he was destined to be confused with 1935 and ’45 champion John A. Kelley — “Johnny the Elder” — a beloved patriarch of the Boston Marathon who continued to run the entire race until 1992, when he was 84. When he could no longer complete the distance, he would serenade the competitors at the starting line with “Young at Heart” before riding to Boston in a convertible as the grand marshall.

A statue of him in his younger and older days greets the runners at the base of Heartbreak Hill in Newton.

Robert Kipkoech Cheruyiot won his first Boston in 2003, winning three more times from 2006-08.

Cheruiyot finished 91 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede to give Kenya its 18th men’s victory in 20 years. Defending champion Deriba Merga was third and Hall and fellow American Meb Keflezighi rounded out the top five; no American has won the men’s race since Greg Meyer in 1983.

“We are training hard, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to hit a home run every time,” said Keflezighi, who was trying to become the first American to win in New York and Boston back to back. “We take big pride in being among the favorites. We put it on the line. We don’t go for second. I think the crowd appreciated it.”

A temperature of 49 degrees and a 13-mph head wind greeted more than 26,000 runners at the start in Hopkinton, including an unprecedented 71 competitors who came from Greece to help celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. It was there, in 490 B.C., that a messenger named Pheidippides was dispatched the roughly 26 miles to Athens to deliver news of a victory over Persia — and then dropped dead.

This year’s edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon was decided, like so many before it, at Heartbreak Hill.

Merga surged ahead at the start of the Newton hills, drawing Cheruiyot along with him while the rest of a lead pack fell off the pace.

They ran the 21st mile, the steepest part of the course, in a split of 4:55.

Merga and Cheruiyot ran shoulder to shoulder through parts of Newton and into Brookline before the Kenyan inched ahead at Coolidge Corner with about 2.5 miles left.


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