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Kenya’s Wesley Korir, Sharon Cherop win Boston Marathon

With temps in the 80s, winner’s time is 2nd-slowest since 1985.

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"It is a very busy day, but it was the day for which people planned," B.A.A. executive director Tom Grilk said. "The god of marathoning, she smiled on us."

A total of 22,426 runners started the race in Hopkinton — about 84 percent of the registered field of 26,716 entrants. A total of 3,683 never collected their bib numbers over the weekend. Another 427 who picked up their starting bibs did not show up at the start; they will be offered a chance to run in 2013 instead.

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The heat didn’t seem to be a problem for Canadian Joshua Cassidy, who won the men’s wheelchair race in a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 25 seconds that beat the previous world best by 2 seconds. American Shirley Reilly edged Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida during a sprint to the finish in the women’s wheelchair division.

But Korir said that after coming from sixth place at Mile 20 to take the lead, he struggled to maintain his pace and Matebo went back in front.

"I started to get really bad cramps in my legs and needed to slow down and needed to slow down a little bit and ... I was then passed," Korir said. "Soon, I started to feel better and was able to pick up my speed again."

One year after cool temperatures and a significant tailwind helped Mutai finish in 2:03:02 for the fastest marathon ever, the heat had elite runners preparing for a slower pace and recreational runners trying to figure out how to finish at all.

Race officials warned runners to be alert for signs of heat stroke and dehydration and asked those who were inexperienced or ill to skip this race. The B.A.A. also offered a limited deferment in 2010, when the Icelandic volcano eruption stalled air traffic in Europe and prevented about 300 runners from getting to Boston.

Five-gallon jugs of water — twice as many as usual, organizers said — were already lining the route early in the morning as volunteers and medical staff stood by preparing for the influx of hot and tired runners.

The Boston Marathon has had its share of hot weather, with the thermometer hitting 97 degrees during the 1909 race that came to be known as "The Inferno" and the 1976 "Run for the Hoses" that started in 100-degree heat and finished with spectators sprinkling winner Jack Fultz with garden hoses to cool him down.

Hopkinton residents Ted and Nanda Barker-Hook have been handing out sports drinks, coffee, water, bananas, and sunscreen on the road leading to the starting gate for the past five years.

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This year, no one was touching the coffee.

Those who did show up said they were prepared.

"You’ve got to know your own body," Mike Buenting, of Minneapolis, who has run 10 marathons, said as he waited for the starting gun. "You have to know how to hydrate and the rest will take care of itself."

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