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Kenyan Lameck Aguta wins Boston Marathon

April 21, 1997 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ Kenyan Lameck Aguta won the 101st Boston Marathon today, pulling away from countryman Joseph Kamau with 1 mile to go and finishing in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 33 seconds.

It was the seventh consecutive victory for Kenya, though not quite the top five sweep from last year. Dionicio Ceron of Mexico finished third, 14 seconds behind Kamau and 25 seconds behind Aguta.

Mexico’s German Silva bounced back from an early fall to finish fourth, and defending champion Moses Tanui was fifth.

Three-time defending women’s champion Uta Pippig, who overcame diarrhea and mentstrual cramps to win last year, was fourth, one minute back heading into the 20-mile mark. The women’s field was led by South Africans Colleen DeReuck and Elana Meyer and Kenyan Fatuma Roba.

A total of 10,524 runners were competing for top prizes of $75,000 in each the men’s and women’s divisions, part of a total purse of $500,000.

Seven-time winner Jean Driscoll was upended after catching her wheelchair tire in trolley track today, failing in her attempt for an unprecedented eighth consecutive Boston Marathon championship.

Louise Sauvage _ who lost out to Driscoll, of Champaign, Ill., last year _ took the women’s wheelchair title with an unofficial time of 1:54:28.

Switzerland’s Franz Neitlispach won the men’s wheelchair race in an unofficial 1:28:34, upsetting defending champion Heinz Frei.

Driscoll and Sauvage were battling for the lead near Cleveland Circle, a Green Line MBTA stop near the race’s 23-mile mark.

The women were led by South African Colleen DeReuck, trailed closely by Elana Meyer, also of South Africa, and Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia.

Top-ranked American Keith Brantly, who ran 28th at the Olympics to be the top U.S. finisher, dropped out of the race at the 15-kilometer mark. American Mark Plaatjes, who was among the leaders into the second half of the race, dropped out near the 30-kilometer mark.

With temperatures in the 50s and clear skies above, Sen. John Kerry fired the starting gun to begin the wheelchair race at 11:45 a.m. At noon, the second-largest field in event history joined them for Boston Marathon No. 101.

At Copley Square, race officials prepared the finish line for the racers’ arrival. Stretchers stretched for half a city block in the medical tents, where podiatrists, chiropractors, physical trainers and massage therapists awaited the winners and the weary.

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An estimated 1 million onlookers lined the route to Boston _ down from the 1.5 million that came to see last year’s 100th edition of the world’s longest-running long race.

Although smaller than in its anniversary year, when an all-time high of 38,000 started, Marathon No. 101 was still a major production. Instead of 162 official podiatrists, there were 120; even the Marathon eve pasta party was scaled back, serving ``only″ four tons of the staple starch instead of the 10 tons dished out last year.

``It’s still a very big event,″ race director Guy Morse said. ``It’s our biggest event ever besides last year.″