Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa wins second Boston Marathon crown as bomber awaits sentencing

BOSTON (AFP) - Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa won the Boston Marathon title Monday, winning his second crown in three years on the eve of the sentencing phase for convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Desisa won the 26.2 mile race in an unofficial time of two hours, nine minutes and 17 seconds, finishing more than a half a minute ahead of runner-up and Ethiopian compatriot Yemane Adhane Tsegay who clocked 2hr:09.48.

Caroline Rotich, of Kenya, won the women's title with an unofficial time of 2hr 24.55.

Running and remembrance shared the Boston stage this year as Desisa also won in 2013, the same year bombs killed three, injured over 250 and forever changed the historic race.

The sentencing phase of Tsarnaev's high-profile trial begins Tuesday in the city.

American prosecutors will argue Tsarnaev must be condemned to death for the attack when a court this week begins weighing up his fate.

Tsarnaev faces either life in prison or the death penalty after a jury unanimously convicted him this month of carrying out the worst attack in the United States since the 9/11 hijackings.

Two years ago Desisa donated his medal from his first title to the city in the memory of the bombing victims. The bombs went off after he had already crossed the finish line.

Desisa can savour this one as he won with a powerful burst to the downtown Boylston Street finish line.

Kenya's Wilson Chebet (2:10.22) was third and his compatriot Bernard Kipyego (2:10.47) placed fourth. Wesley Korir, also of Kenya, rounded out the top five. The top USA runner was Dathan Ritzenhein who finished seventh.

Defending champion Meb Keflezighi placed eighth after becoming the first American men's winner since 1983.

The women's race went down to the wire. Rotich, who finished fourth in Boston in 2011, outsprinted Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba to win by just four seconds.

Buzunesh Deba, of Ethiopia, finished third in a time of 2:25.09. Desiree Linden was the top American in fourth place.