The Boston Marathon is a fantastic tradition, a great athletic achievement, and a perfect excuse for BU kids to get day drunk on a Monday. It's a fixture on the sports landscape of the greatest sports town in America (there, I said it), but it's the exact opposite of must-see TV. We'd say just skip to the highlights, but ordinarily it doesn't even have those...unless you count Spencer the Marathon Dog, of course.
This year, however—perhaps due to the unflinching law of averages or simply because there's some sort of pixie dust in the air—is a different story, because as Lawrence Cherono and Lelisa Desisa came down the homestretch on Monday morning, the famed battle of endurance turned into a flat-out drag race. Needless to say, Churchill Downs has nothing on Boylston Street.
Ending Desisa's bid for a third consecutive Boston Marathon victory, Cheron surged over the final 100 yards, officially finishing at 2:07:59 with Desisa clocking in at 2:08 flat. According to the Washington Post, the one-second differential is the closest finish the Boston Marathon has seen in 31 years. If just watching that late burst after 26 miles of self-inflicted agony makes your calves seize up, just imagine how Cheron felt as we was helped to the podium after his incredible final sprint.
Also of note is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who crossed the finish line a little over an hour later with a mark of 3:09:07 in his first-ever attempt. Unfortunately, none of these sub-plots will do much to soothe the nerves of Boston sports fans, who had their day off spoiled by the Orioles' Chris Davis—now the owner of the longest hitless streak in MLB history—smacking his first homer in eight months into the Fenway cheap seats during an 8-1 drubbing. September is a long way off, but the AL East is already looking like it will require a photo finish of its own before it's all said and done.