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Kenyans sweep to victories at Boston Marathon

BOSTON, April 17 (Reuters) - Geoffrey Kirui and Edna Kiplagat produced a Kenyan sweep at the Boston Marathon, winning the men's and women's races on Monday by conquering the race's hilly final miles to establish their dominance.

Kirui finished in two hours nine minutes and 37 seconds after holding off a challenge by American Galen Rupp in the race's final stretch down Boylston Street, the site of the deadly 2013 bombing attack.

Kirui repeatedly tested Rupp in the closing miles, with the American Olympic bronze medalist eventually unable to match the Kenyan's pace.

"He put in several surges and I was able to cover a few of them," Rupp told reporters after the race.

17 PHOTOS
Boston Marathon 2017
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Boston Marathon 2017
The elite women's runners leave the starting line for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, U.S. April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Lisa Hornak
Apr 17, 2017; Hopkinton, MA, USA; The elite men at the start line of the 2017 Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; General view of the pack of elite women near the start of the 2017 Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; A general view as the elite men lead the field in the 2017 Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The women's wheelchair competitors leave the starting line for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, U.S. April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Lisa Hornak
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar both from Switzerland celebrate winning the wheelchair divisions 2017 Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
ASHLAND, MA - APRIL 17: A field of elite women's runners make their way along the course during the running of the 121st Boston Marathon in Ashland, MA, April 17, 2017. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 17: Edna Kiplagat of Kenya looks back as she pulls away from the pack during the running of the 121st Boston Marathon in Boston, MA, April 17, 2017. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Edna Kiplagat of Kenya runs the course after pulling away from the pack during the running of the 121st Boston Marathon in Boston, MA, April 17, 2017. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOPKINTON, MA - APRIL 17: A runner jumps for joy at the start of the Boston Marathon from Hopkinton, Mass. on April. 17, 2017. (Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOPKINTON, MA - APRIL 17: Wave 1 runners leave the starting line of the 121st Boston Marathon from Hopkinton, Mass., on April. 17, 2017. (Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEWTON, MA - APRIL 17: Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui leads the pack up Heartbreak Hill on Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, MA during the 121st running of the Boston Marathon on Apr. 17, 2017. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) and Galen Rupp (USA) race during the 2017 Boston Marathon. Kirui won with a time of 2:09:37. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Geoffrey Kirui runs down Boylston Street towards the finish line of the 2017 Boston Marathon. Kirui won the men's division. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men?s division of the 121st Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Apr 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Geoffrey Kirui crosses the finish line of the 2017 Boston Marathon winning the men's division. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
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Kiplagat, a 38-year-old mother of two whose resume includes marathon wins in London, Moscow, New York and Daegu, ran alone for the final miles of the race and finished in 2:21:52, almost a minute ahead of Bahrain's Rose Chelimo.

The Kenyan maintained her comfortable lead despite briefly stopping in the final miles when she realized she had grabbed a rival's water bottle from an aid station and went back to return it.

"I had to put back something which was not mine," Kiplagat told reporters. "I was afraid, because you know, if you miss water it can affect you."

American Jordan Hasay set a record for an American women's debut marathon, coming in third in 2:23:00. Japan's Suguru Osako finished third among the men.

Security was high along the course, which begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and passes through Boston's suburbs to the finish line, where a pair of ethnic Chechen brothers on April 15, 2013 set off two homemade bombs, killing three people and injuring more than 200.

Meb Keflezighi, who in 2014 became the first American to win the race in over three decades, finished 13th in his final Boston Marathon.

Keflezighi, who plans to retire from racing after the New York City marathon in November, stopped after his victory to touch the hand of Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son Martin was the youngest person to die in the bombing.

"In 2013, I was a spectator just like the three victims and when I saw the 8-year-old ... the first thing in my mind was that could have been my daughter," said Keflezighi.

Tens of thousands of people packed the streets for Boston's largest sporting event, held on the Patriots Day holiday, which commemorates the start of the American Revolution. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Richard Lough and Larry Fine)

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