By Mark Pratt, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Masazumi Soejima amd Wakako Tsuchida gave Japan a sweep of the Boston Marathon men’s and women’s wheelchair divisions, boosting a nation recovering from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Soejima won Boston for the second time in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 50 seconds, while Tsuchida won easily for the fifth consecutive year with a course record and world best of 1:34.06, breaking the previous mark of 1:34.22 set by Jean Driscoll in 1994.

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Women’s Wheelchair Finish

Soejima, who also won in 2007, was in third place in the final stretch but made a final frantic push to pass Australian Kurt Fearnley and nine-time champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa, who both finished in 1:18.51.

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Photo Gallery: Boston Marathon Elite Race

Americans Shirley Reilly and Christina Ripp finished second and third.

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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)