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When Boston Marathon turned into a sprint, Cherono was ready

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BOSTON (AP) Sometimes a race is both a marathon and a sprint.

Lawrence Cherono paced himself for 26 miles from Hopkinton to Boston, making the turn from Hereford Street for the last 600 meters on Boylston shoulder-to-shoulder with two other runners. From there, it was a footrace.

“I’ve never run on the track before,” the 30-year-old Kenyan said on Tuesday after picking up a check for $150,000 as the winner of the 123rd Boston Marathon. “To me, it was a lesson. I never lost hope.”

A six-time marathon winner, Cherono was the fastest man in the field by virtue of his victory in Amsterdam last fall in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 6 seconds. That speed came in handy Monday when the pack ran faster in the second half than the first, and Cherono completed the final mile in 4:29 to get to the tape before two-time Boston winner Lelisa Desisa.

In fact, at the 30K checkpoint there were still a dozen runners in the lead pack, including three of the last four champions: Desisa, who won in 2013 and ’15, Geoffrey Kirui (’16) and Lemi Berhanu Hayle (’17).

“I was not thinking of what they did last year,” Cherono said. “I was running my own race.”

Cherono finished in 2:07:57, the fastest winning time in Boston since Geoffrey Mutai’s 2:03:02 set a course record and a world best. Desisa slowed up, grimacing in agony, and finished 2 seconds behind.

Worknesh Degefa won the women’s race in 2:23:31 after pulling away from the pack in the outer suburbs and running alone for more than 20 miles.

“This is going to change my life,” she said Tuesday. “This marathon throws me onto the world stage. Winning the Boston Marathon is everything.”

A year after dealing with some of the foulest weather New England has to offer – temperatures in the mid-30s, an icy rain and near-gale headwinds – organizers lucked into a pretty nice day. Temperatures were in the high 50s at the start, and the rain held off until late in the afternoon.

That led to some new challenges.

Forecasts of cold and rain forced the Boston Athletic Association to prepare again for the worst, and heavy rains and lightning overnight led organizers to delay some of the buses shuttling runners out to the start. An early-morning military march was delayed for 90 minutes, but had the lightning continued the whole race could have been canceled.

Para athletes and others with imperfect contact with the ground were offered a deferment; not a single one took it, race director Dave McGillivray said.

The skies remained clear for the entire elite race and a light rain began falling mid-afternoon. But instead of the hypothermia that had been feared from anticipated cold weather – extra heaters were ordered for the medical tents – temperatures soared into the low 70s and doctors were dealing with exertion heat stroke.

One runner had a core body temperature of 109 degrees, medical coordinator Chris Troyanos said. A total of 2,217 runners needed medical attention on the course or at the finish line; 103 people were transported to hospitals and 13 were admitted overnight.

All were expected to be released Tuesday, Troyanos said.

McGillivray said the changing forecasts put pressure on organizers that last year’s dreadful – but predictable – weather did not.

“It was a moving target all week long,” he said. “But pressure is a privilege. And the B.A.A. team is at its best when we are challenged.”

J’den Cox repeats as world wrestling champion; Kyle Snyder stunned

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If he wasn’t crowned already, it’s clear U.S. wrestling has a new king.

On a day when Rio Olympic champion Kyle Snyder was upset and London Olympic champ Jordan Burroughs rallied for another bronze medal, J’den Cox repeated as world champion in Kazakhstan.

Cox, the Rio Olympic 86kg bronze medalist, completed a perfect run through the 92kg division — not giving up a point in four matches — by dominating Iranian Alireza Karimi 4-0 in the final. He became the second U.S. man to win an Olympic or world title without surrendering a point in more than 30 years (joining Kyle Dake from last year).

“I don’t know why, but it feels like a ton better [than 2018],” said Cox, whose tattoos include one that reads in Latin, “If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.” “I made more sacrifices … I wanted to do it better.”

Earlier Saturday, Snyder was shocked by Azerbaijan’s Sharif Sharifov 5-2 in the 97kg semifinals, denying a third straight world final between Snyder and Russian Tank Abdulrashid Sadulayev. Sharifov, the 2012 Olympic 84kg champ, clinched his first world medal in eight years.

Snyder, who in Rio became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at age 20, failed to make an Olympic or world final for the first time in his career. He will wrestle for bronze on Sunday, while Sharifov meets Sadulayev for gold.

Burroughs earned his seventh straight world championships medal and second straight bronze. Burroughs, the 2012 Olympic 74kg champion, rebounded from losing to Russian Zaurbeck Sidakov on Friday with a 10-0 technical fall over Japanese Mao Okui.

Burroughs gave up a lead on Sidakov with 1.3 seconds left in the semifinals, a year after Sidakov overtook him as time expired in the quarterfinals.

“A lot of people in 2016 called me a quitter,” said Burroughs, who tearfully missed the medals in Rio, “and I think that after watching the amount of devastation and heartbreak that I’ve taken over the last two years and still being able to come back and take third place is a testament.”

Burroughs, 31, shares third with Adeline Gray on the U.S. list of career world wrestling championships medals, trailing only Bruce Baumgartner and Kristie Davis, who each earned nine.

Burroughs’ bronze ensured he gets a bye into the 74kg final of the Olympic trials in April. But this will be the first time he goes into an Olympic year as anything other than a reigning world champion.

“At this juncture of my career, I feel I’m running out of time,” said Burroughs, who next year will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic wrestling champion. “That can be really scary.”

Dake marched to Sunday’s final in defense of his 2018 World title at 79kg (a non-Olympic weight) by going 23-4 over three matches. Dake, who at Cornell became the only wrestler to win NCAA titles at four weight classes or without a redshirt, gets Azerbaijan’s Jabrayil Hasanov in the final, a rematch of the 2018 gold-medal match.

Next year, Dake must move up to 86kg, where Cox will likely reside, or down to 74kg, where Burroughs has won every U.S. Olympic or world trials dating to 2011. There’s also David Taylor to reckon with. Taylor won the 86kg world title last year but missed this season due to injury.

“We’ve got a guy at 79 kilos that’s going to win a world championship tomorrow,” Burroughs said, smiling, of Dake, “I’m hopefully going to be waiting for [Dake at Olympic trials], healthy and prepared.”

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Alexandra Trusova, 15, becomes first woman to land three quadruple jumps

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Alexandra Trusova established herself as the world’s leading female figure skater … in her first senior international competition.

Trusova, the 15-year-old, two-time world junior champion from Russia, became the first woman to land three quadruple jumps in one international competition program, posting the world’s highest free skate and total scores on the early season.

Trusova previously landed three quads in the free skate at the Russian Federation’s test skates in early September.

She opened Saturday’s free skate with a quadruple Lutz, a quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination and another quad toe to run away from Japanese Olympian Kaori Sakamoto by 44.27 points. Video is here.

She won a lower-level event in Slovakia with 238.69 points, which would have beaten Japan’s top skater, Rika Kihira, and Olympic bronze medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva by more than 14 points at an event last week in Canada. However, judging panels can be more or less forgiving from event to event.

Still, Trusova established herself as a force going into next month’s Grand Prix season. She will face Kihira and Medvedeva at Skate Canada the last week of October.

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