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Cheruiyot sets course record, wins Philadelphia Marathon

Kimutai Cheruiyot won the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday morning, setting a course record.

Cheruiyot, who traveled in from Chapel Hill, N.C., for the race, finished with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 53 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:16:43 set by Joseph Nderitu in 2003.

"It's fantastic. I'm excited," he said after a mob of volunteers and reporters gathered around him once he crossed the finish line.

Second-place finisher Jacob Chemtai (2:15:59), from Albuquerque, N.M., and Bado Merdessa (2:16:10) of the Bronx, N.Y., also beat the previous record. Wesley Langat, the runner from Corcoran, Minn. who finished in fourth, also came in just under the old mark, at 2:16:41.

Taylor Ward, of Auburn, Ala., won the women's race in 2:36:25. It was Ward's first time running in the marathon, and her first visit to Philadelphia.

"I heard it was a great course," she said. "I had a couple friends that have run it, and the timing of the race, training in the South is a little bit rough in the summer, so I wanted a later fall marathon."

The trip was worth it, as Ward ran her best marathon time.

"I loved the race, felt strong all throughout," she said. "I had to be patient early on and just wait until it was time to go."

Ward also had high praise for her time in the city.

"I loved it. It's been a great experience," she said. "We've really liked Philly, and I've really enjoyed being here. I've got another day. I don't leave until tomorrow, so I'm excited to explore a little more."

Serkalem Abrha, also from Albuquerque, finished second in the women's race in 2:37:53 and Portugal's Vera Nunes finished third, clocking in at 2:39:03.

Margaret Vido, who returned for her fourth Philadelphia Marathon, ran a time of 2:44:56 and was the first female from Philadelphia to cross the finish line for the second straight year.

Patrick Richie, running in his first marathon, was the first male from Philadelphia to complete the race (2:24:09).

"It's an honor," he said. "I wasn't exactly expecting that. I thought it could maybe happen, but it really made it a lot more fun crossing the line."

Richie, who ran in high school and then in college at Gonzaga, said he lives near the course's 20-mile mark and saw the marathon as a way to get more involved in the city's running community.

"I wanted to get into it," he said. "There's a great running community here in Philly, and the Philly Marathon is definitely the focal point of it, so I wanted to get involved, get to it."

Miguel Angel Jimenez-Vergara also had a notable first from Sunday, as the 16-year old from Ewing, N.J., won the men's wheelchair race in 2:01:17. It was his first marathon. Michelle Wheeler, from Boalsburg, Pa., finished first among women in the wheelchair race at 2:40:42.