Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi eighth after stopping, throwing up, crying at Boston Marathon

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Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa captured his second Boston Marathon, while Kenyan Caroline Rotich won her first major marathon on Monday.

The top U.S. finishers were Olympians Desi Linden (fourth) and Shalane Flanagan (ninth) in the women’s race. In the men’s, Dathan Ritzenhein was seventh, and the 2014 champion Meb Keflezighi was eighth, holding and raising the hand of near the finish.

“Last year was an epic race, epic moment for Boston, for the United States and for the world,” Keflezighi, who turns 40 on May 5, said on Universal Sports. “I was hoping to defend it, but as soon as I got to … mile 21, 22, just tough going. I took a drink. It didn’t go down. They made a big move. The separation happened.”

Keflezighi said he stopped and threw up five times with the liquid not sitting well. He also said he cried on the final stretch on Boylston Street, site of his emotional triumph last year.

“I was hurting pretty bad,” he said in an interview on Boston’s CBS station. “I was very emotional.”

Keflezighi said he next plans to go on a tour for his book, “Meb For Mortals.” He has said he wants to run a fall marathon, perhaps New York City on Nov. 1, before the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.

Full results can be found here.

Desisa, who won the 2013 Boston Marathon before twin bombings rocked the world’s oldest annual 26.2-mile race later that day, pulled away from countryman Yemane Tsegay in the final two miles Monday. Desisa’s time was 2:09:17, 31 seconds faster than Tsegay in damp, windy conditions. In 2013, Desisa gave his winner’s medal back to the city.

Desisa, 25, has been first or second in every major race he’s finished in the last two years. He did not finish the 2014 Boston Marathon won by Keflezighi, hampered by an ankle injury picked up in training.

“Boston is my second home,” Desisa said on Universal Sports.

Ritzenhein and Keflezighi took turns at the front of the men’s lead group in the latter half of the race but were dropped as the pace quickened. They finished more than two minutes back.

Rotich, 30, battled Ethiopians Mare Dibaba and Buzunesh Deba in the final two miles, after dropping Linden. She outsprinted Dibaba by four seconds on the Boylston Street finish. Her time was 2:24:55.

Rotich had never before finished better than fourth in a major marathon.

“I have been waiting for this and training and training,” Rotich said on Universal Sports. “When we came through this last stretch, corner, I feel like, yeah I want to do this, and I could let it go.”

U.S. Olympians Linden, Flanagan and Amy Cragg were part of a 12-woman lead group at the half marathon mark, but all three were shed as the group thinned.

“I could just tell the pounding, the typical Boston course, my legs felt it,” Flanagan, who finished seventh in 2014 and fourth in 2013, said on Universal Sports. “I tried to talk them [my legs] out of slowing down, but they didn’t want to listen.”

No U.S. woman has won Boston since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.

Tatyana McFadden, an 11-time Paralympic medalist, won her third straight women’s wheelchair race in Boston in 1:52:54.

Swiss Paralympic marathon silver medalist Marcel Hug took the men’s wheelchair in 1:29:53.

The next World Marathon Major is the London Marathon on Sunday, featuring the last two men’s world-record holders, from Kenya, and world-record holder Paula Radcliffe in her competitive 26.2-mile farewell.

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Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

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Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

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Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

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Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

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