BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia won her first Boston Marathon Monday with a dramatic surge in the final few miles.
Baysa was 37 seconds behind Tirfi Tsegaye of Ethiopia and Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya 21 miles into the race.
But Baysa turned on the jets, made a huge move and took over the race, leading all by herself by mile 24.
She led from there all the way to the finish line with a final time of 2:29:18.
“I am very happy,” she told WBZ-TV through a translator. “To win Boston is not easy. Even the name is very big.”
Watch: Baysa On Winning 2016 Boston Marathon
Tsegaye finished second in 2:30:02. Chepkirui was third.
Check: Top Finishers
Neely Spence Gracey of Superior, Colorado was the top American woman in ninth place. She finished with a time of 2:35:00.
Defending women’s champion Caroline Rotich was among the first to fall out, dropping away from the leaders at a water station about 5 miles in and walking to the side of the road.
Baysa, 29, also fell out of the lead but never stopped running.
She was out of the picture as the women’s leaders passed the 35-kilometer mark, but soon after they left Heartbreak Hill the TV cameras picked up a bobbing yellow figure running along the side of the road. As she gained, it was clear that Baysa had saved enough energy for the winning kick.
She caught Chepkiui on Beacon Street in Brookline with about 2.5 miles remaining, then sped past Tsegaye on the run toward Kenmore Square. The gap grew larger over the final mile and Baysa turned onto Boylston Street all alone.
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