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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Rain from a lashing storm didn't stop runners from running in the Boston Marathon yesterday. And for the third time in a row, a Kenyan took the men's crown - Robert Cheruiyot. His time was two hours, 14 minutes and 13 seconds; seven minutes slower than last year. Russia's Lydia Grigoryeva won on the women's side. Boston Marathon officials almost cancelled the race for the first time, due to the extreme weather.

Andrea Shea from member station WBUR in Boston has more.

(Soundbite of people cheering)

Unidentified Man: Way to go. Way to go.

ANDREA SHEA: Over the weekend, a fierce Nor'easter pounded Boston with freezing temperatures, high winds and heavy rain. The foul weather let up some, during the early hours of the marathon, but not enough to put medical professional at ease. Neil Hamlin(ph) is a physician stationed at the emergency shelter on Heartbreak Hill, a notorious stretch along the route.

Dr. NEIL HAMLIN (Physician, Boston Marathon): We're worried about runners with hypothermia. They're wet. They're not wearing much clothing. And then people running in wet footgear.

Mr. GREG McLIN(ph) (Runner, Boston Marathon): It's been a challenge today maybe because of the heavy, wet feet the whole way. So I got some pretty bad blisters on my feet.

SHEA: Greg McLin of Godfrey, Illinois stops in the tent for a moleskin patch and says it would take more than blisters and bad weather to stop him from finishing the marathon.

Mr. McLIN: When I left my house, my wife said, you crazy man. So, you know… But after training for so long all winter, there's no way I was going to do it. So…

SHEA: In a nearby ambulance, runner Ida Carol(ph) says pure determination isn't always enough.

Ms. IDA CAROL (Runner, Boston Marathon): I just knew I wasn't going to be able to finish if I didn't stop here. And now, I'm not going to able to finish.

SHEA: Carol's prognosis is mild hypothermia.

(Soundbite of people cheering)

SHEA: A few years from here, runners Patty Ann McAdams(ph) and Allen Russell(ph) of New York pull off the road at the top of Heartbreak Hill. McAdams is wearing all white and a veil. In front of a tent, the two marathoners exchanged wedding vows.

Mr. ALLEN RUSSELL (Runner, Boston Marathon): If the hills are steep, or the winds are against us, from this day forward, we will have one another to share the struggle. Let us be reminded, as we return, that marriage is a marathon.

SHEA: After a kiss and a sip of champagne, the newly weds continued down the hill, running fast towards the finish line.

For NPR News, I'm Andrea Shea.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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