Monday, April 20, 2009

South African Ernst Van Dyk wins eighth Boston Marathon

Part of the story from WVCB-TV in Boston:

South African marathon wheelchair champion Ernst Van Dyk (pictured) claimed his eighth Boston Marathon trophy April 20, tying women's wheelchair champ Jean Driscoll for most Boston victories ever.

Van Dyk crossed the finish line at 10:55 a.m., just about 90 minutes after he started the race in Hopkinton, battling a strong head wind all the way that put him 16 minutes behind his 2008 finishing time.

With the win, Van Dyk surpassed previous men's all-time title holder Clarence DeMar, who had seven Boston wins.

Defending women's wheelchair champ Wakako Tsuchida of Japan also claimed victory, crossing the finish line in just under two hours at 1:54:37.

More than 26,000 runners were signed up to run the Boston Marathon under cool, overcast skies Monday. The 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston has been dominated by elite African runners in recent years.

Van Dyk said Heartbreak Hill is always the roughest part of the race for him.

As he waited for the gun to go off at the starting line Monday, he said it's all in a day's work for him.

"It's what I do. It's my job, coming to work every day," Van Dyke said, adding that he's scheduled to race in marathons in London and Korea in the next few weeks.