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PROVO — Jared Ward was exhausted, but the exhaustion was worth it.
The former BYU distance star and Olympic marathoner had just finished the Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 25 seconds Monday in New England. The time set a personal record for the eighth-place Ward, a four-time All-American with the Cougars who ran 2 minutes fasters than his finish at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"Two O'Nine," the current BYU statistics professor said in a video posted to Twitter. "That's been my goal for a long time.
"I do not regret leading that race. That was one of the funnest moments."
"We checked off all the boxes that we were hoping to accomplish here," BYU coach Ed Eyestone told letsrun.com. "For his own personal resume, once you are 2:10 or faster, that is a different category for American running."
That time earned him a sixth-place finish in Rio. Monday's time earned him a top-10 finish in Boston, which means he can qualify for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo with a top-three result at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2020 in Eugene, Oregon.
Ward’s previous best was 2:15:28, which he ran in the 2017 Boston Marathon — his first time qualifying for the historic event. His 2019 time was second amongst American men, behind just Scott Bauble’s 2:09:09.
Lawrence Cherono used a final sprint to win the 123rd edition of the Boston Marathon in 2:07:57, powering past two-time champion Lelisa Desisa in one of the most exciting finishes in recent marathon history. Kenneth Kipkemoi finished 8 seconds later in third place.
Desisa previously won in 2015 and 2013 — the year of the infamous bombing near the finish line. Monday’s marathon was the first time the two year’s dates coincided since the tragedy.
"It was no man's race to win," Cherono told the Associated Press. "I kept on focusing. And at the end, I was the winner. I’m so grateful, so happy."
Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa won the women’s race, followed by Kenya’s Edna Kiplagata in second and American Jordan Hasay in third.
Sarah Sellers, a former Weber State distance runner who prepped at Ogden High, finished in 2:44:04 for 19th place in the women’s division.