Boston Marathon
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    Boston Marathon | Wheelchairs

    Marcel Hug, Manuela Schar make wheelchair races a Swiss sweep

    Call it a Swiss sweep.

    Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar won the men’s and women’s wheelchair divisions, respectively, of the Boston Marathon Monday and set course records in the process.

    Hug won his third straight Boston, besting 10-time champion Ernst van Dyk in a second straight photo finish after a heated battle down Boylston Street.


    Hug, nicknamed the Swiss Silver Bullet, waged a back-and-forth battle with van Dyk before bolting across the finish in a course-record time of 1:18:04. Van Dyk was credited with the same time.

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    It was a world-best time but not a world record, which the Boston course doesn’t qualify for because there’s often a tailwind, which was the case on Monday.

    Japan’s Hiroyuki Yamamoto, another former Boston champion, finished third at 1:19:32.

    Hug’s effort broke Josh Cassidy’s record of 1:18:25 set in 2012.

    The top American man in the wheelchair division was Josh George, who crossed in 1:21:47.


    Schar shattered the Boston record in a time of 1:28:17. It was Schar’s first Boston title after finishing runner-up in 2016. Her time also was a world’s best.

    Americans Amanda McGrory (1:33:13) and Susannah E. Scaroni (1:33:17) finished second and third in the women’s race. Tatyana McFadden finished fourth (1:35:05) just a few weeks after she underwent surgery for blood clots. She had won the previous three Bostons.

    Hug said he relished the late race battle with van Dyk, and the two communicated a lot during the race.

    “It was an incredible race today, pretty fast,’’ said Hug. “I had to try and follow Ernst [downhill] because he’s so strong on the downhill. I was feeling very good, very strong. I was looking forward to that finish.’’

    Although competing for the same prize, van Dyk said there was actually some teamwork involved in the fight to the finish.


    “I know this course very well,’’ he said. “At some point I told Marcel that we were about a 1:30, almost 2 minutes, ahead of the course record here, if we just maintain our pace and just push each other we could maybe pull it off together. And that’s what we did, we stuck to the plan, although we did attack each other. I surged, he surged. It’s really nice to get that good time.’’

    Hug, who also captured the Abbott World Marathon Majors title with the win, said he didn’t really know what to expect with the heat.

    “It feels incredible,’’ he said. “Really, really happy. I didn’t expect it this morning at the start and really had no idea how fast I could go today. So, really, really happy to make this record time. Feels great.’’

    There was no such drama in the women’s race, where Schar was in control pretty much from the get go.

    “It was tough,’’ said Schar. “I was pretty much by myself all the time. So, I didn’t really know how fast I was going because I don’t carry a [GPS]. I just realized at the finish line [what my time was]. It’s crazy. What a day.’’

    McGrory was thrilled with her time and the conditions but she knew early on that she was gunning for second.

    “For the first part of the race, we had Manuela in our sights — well maybe not Manuela but the lights on the lead vehicle,’’ she said with a laugh. “But she was untouchable.’’

    Honorable champion

    Meb Keflezighi closed out his competitive Boston career with a 13th-place finish in the men’s division in a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes.

    Keflezighi, who turns 43 next month, was the 2014 Boston champion and will wrap up his marathoning career with a New York run in November. It will be his 26th.

    Following Monday’s race, Keflezighi spent an emotional few moments with the family of Martin Richard, the youngest of the Marathon bombing victims in 2013. He was 8. Keflezighi was spotted kissing the hands of Martin’s parents, Bill and Denise.

    “In 2013, I was just a spectator just like the three victims,’’ said Keflezighi. “Martin Richard was 8 years old, and I have an 8-year-old daughter. That first thing I thought of was, ‘That could have been my daughter.’ So it’s personal. Every year I’ve come here since, I’ve met with the Richard family. One year I want to wear that jersey and maybe run a race or do some sort of charity work to honor Martin.’’

    As for Monday’s race, Keflezighi said it “was brutal” and that he dealt with sore quads around Mile 12. Though he won’t be participating competitively any more, he hopes to remain a mainstay in Boston.

    “I don’t know if I’m going to sign up for another marathon, but hopefully there will be something I can still do here in Boston,’’ he said. “I’m so thankful to the BAA and John Hancock for the opportunity to run here over the years.’’

    Medical update

    According to medical director Chris Troyanos, 2,358 people had been treated as of about 4 p.m., 942 on the course and 1,416 in the finish-line medical tents. Most were treated for exertional heat stroke. Several people had medical emergencies with their core temperatures rising to 105 degrees, and as high as 108. All were treated successfully.

    Defending champ out

    Last year’s men’s winner, Lemi Berhanu Hayle, dropped out around the 18-mile mark. It was unclear what led the 22-year-old to bow out . . . Seven of the top 11 men’s finishers were American, including Braintree native Sean Quigley. The 32-year-old placed 11th in a time of 2:15:34 . . . Kathrine Switzer, 70, who was the first woman to run the race with a number back in 1967, finished Monday in 4:44:31 . . . Bennett Beach completed his 50th straight journey from Hopkinton to Boston in 5:01:26 . . . Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge won the World Marathon Majors crown. He didn’t run Boston but had previously wrapped up the title, which wasn’t announced until Monday . . . Because Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa was unable to defend her Boston title, the winner of the WMM women’s title — and the $500,000 in prize money — will remain in limbo until the WMM figures out a plan. Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong had the 50 points to earn the crown but recently tested positive for the blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO).

    Marcel Hug (left) and Manuela Schar cross the finish line on Boylston Street.
    Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
    Marcel Hug (left) and Manuela Schar cross the finish line on Boylston Street.

    Jim McBride can be reached at