BOSTON — From outsourcing jobs to creating debt in China, the United States has single-handedly benefited the economies of countries across the globe.


It happened again on Monday to the tune of $150,000. But rather than complain about “giving away money” while many Americans are struggling to pay bills, the latest such event is deserving of a celebration.


Instead of an uproar of hatred over positively contributing to the welfare of other nations, Kenyan runner Robert Cheruiyot was greeted by cheers of encouragement from spectators lining the streets of Wellesley and Newton.


After risking his life for months in order to train in the middle of the tribal violence that consumes his country, Cheruiyot won his third straight Boston Marathon and became only the fourth runner in the history of the event to ever win four titles. He finish the 26.2 mile race in two hours, seven minutes, 46 seconds (just short of the 2:07:14 course record he set in 2006), and did it with virtually no competition.


“This was the hardest,” Cheruiyot told the Boston Globe. “Boston is not a very easy course, it’s very difficult. [But] I enjoy running the hills.”


“It’s very difficult when you’re running alone here in Boston,” he continued. “You need company.”


Cheruiyot finished one minute, 18 seconds ahead of second place finisher Abderrahime Bouramdane. And if that doesn’t impress you, consider the fact that despite starting 30 minutes after the women, Cheruiyot passed all but four women runners en route to picking up his $150,000 check.


Yes, you heard correctly — $150,000. That’s mere pocket change for most pro athletes, but hands down more than the average person makes in a two-year span. Now he can take his third check in as many years back to his family in Kenya which he comfortably supports on the equivalent of $350 a month. I’m sure he won’t have many financial woes to contend with anytime soon. But his main concern now turns to the Beijing Olympics this summer.


Meanwhile, the obesity rate in the United States continues to rise and a predominately lazy population could only dream of running five miles. Never mind a marathon. The chances might be small, but think of the extra cash a relatively average person could make by simply staying in shape.


Fitness levels of the sedentary aside, the U.S. Olympic committee might be screwing itself over as a result of scheduling conflicts.


This year, with eight months separating the events, the men were given an option of participating in both the Marathon Trials and Track Trials. The women, on the other hand, did not have the same luxury. With the women’s Track and Field Trials coming up in June in Eugene, Ore., the women not only had to choose between running in either the distance Track Trials and the Marathon Trials, but were also forced out of any possibility of running the 112th Boston Marathon.


The women’s Marathon Trials were held this past Sunday, a day before Boston, preventing favorites such as Deena Kastor and Blake Russell from taking a stab at the $150,000 purse (the Marathon Trials prize is considerably less at $50,000). Jen Rhines and Katie McGregor, who also have top-five marathon qualifying times, chose to sit out of both events in order to focus on the 5000 and 10,000 meter runs in Eugene. Not only does the scheduling conflict prevent the U.S. Olympic committee from putting its best runners on the course at the Olympic Games, it takes away from the drama and excitement of seeing the best possible race in all respective events. The end result was the closest finish in the history of the women’s Boston Marathon. It was an exciting finish. But seeing the names left off of the list begs the question of whether we saw the best race on Monday.


This is not fair to the fans or the athletes, and adds fuel to the argument that we are not necessarily seeing the best athletes in the world compete at the Olympics.



*Kastor (2:29:35) finished first in the Olympic Marathon Trials and will be joined this summer by Magdalena Lewy-Boulet (2:30:19) and Russell (2:32:40) who finished second and third respectively. Zoila Gomez placed fourth and will be an alternate on the U.S. women’s marathon team.




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