By Scott Malone and Ros Krasny
BOSTON (Reuters) - Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon Monday in two hours three minutes and two seconds, the fastest time ever recorded over the grueling distance.
Mutai slashed almost a minute off the official world record of 2:03.59, set by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie at Berlin in 2008, but his time was not ratified as a new record because he was aided by a tailwind on a hilly course with too much downhill from start to finish.
"Boston marathon performances cannot be ratified as world records as the course does not satisfy two of the criteria for world records," USA Track and Field told Reuters.
Mutai's countryman Moses Mosop, competing in his first marathon, also smashed Gebrselassie's mark to finish second in 2:03.06 after the two Kenyans ran stride for stride through the capital of Massachusetts before unleashing a final sprint to the finish line in Boylston Street.
"I was not coming to break the world record," Mutai told reporters.
"For me, today was good weather. And when you are in good form and get good weather and get some colleagues who can push you, you can make it."
Ethiopia's Gebregziabher Gebremariam, last year's New York City marathon champion, was third, with Ryan Hall of the United States fourth after keeping pace with the East Africans for most of the race. His time of 2:04:58 was the fastest ever time by an American.
"One thing I did learn last year is that I needed to keep them closer, so when they did surge I would keep my rhythm up a little bit," said Hall.
KILEL COMPLETES KENYAN DOUBLE
Caroline Kilel ensured a Kenyan double when she won the women's race in 2:22.36, outkicking U.S. runner Desiree Davila in the final few city blocks. Kenyan Sharon Cherop was third.
"I even thought the last couple of strides there maybe there was a little more left and I just couldn't pull it off," Davila said. "My legs were just shot."
Mutai and Kilel each earned $150,000 for their victories while the 29-year-old Mutai, whose previous biggest win was the 2008 Monaco Marathon, pocketed a bonus for breaking the course record in the 115th running of the Boston Marathon, which drew almost 27,000 entrants on Patriots' Day.
His blazing time, which happened on the same day Gebrselassie celebrated his 38th birthday, immediately rekindled speculation about whether a runner might eventually complete the 26.2-mile distance in under two hours with Hall insisting there were no limits.
"I think we are going to continue to be amazed by the marathon and what people can do over that distance," the American said.
The Kenyan sweep in Boston came 24 hours after Emmanuel Mutai and Mary Keitany won the men's and women's events at the London marathon.
(Editing by Julian Linden)