BOSTON — Bells rang in the Old South Church and thousands of flag-waving fans lined the streets to watch Deena Kastor, 35, win Sunday's 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 35 seconds.
"I accomplished two major goals: first, to make the team and, secondly, to win," Kastor told the Associated Press. "It's an absolute honor that this is my third Olympic team. It feels just as sweet the third time around."
Kastor, who won bronze at the 2004 Athens Games, chased down solo breakaway runner Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 34, in the closing miles. A native of Poland who became a U.S. citizen Sept. 11, 2001, Lewy Boulet held on for second (2:30:19). The two will be joined at the 2008 Beijing Games by Blake Russell, 32, who finished third (2:32:40).
For most of the 146 elite female marathon runners, the 6-minute mile pace early splintered the packs of 20-30 runners who tried to hang together on the windy Harvard Bridge, which crosses the Charles River on the way to Cambridge for each of the four 6-mile loops.
Meanwhile, Melanie Peters, 24, ran in one of the tight chasing packs. The St. Petersburg resident qualified with a winning time of 2:46:45 in the Gasparilla Distance Classic on Feb. 10.
But during this marathon, Peters had to leave after re-aggravating an Achilles' tendon injury that started bothering her a few weeks ago.
"I thought that if I rest enough this (past) week, it might be all right," she said in an e-mail. "It hurt right from the start of the race and a marathon requires that you be in nothing less than tip-top shape … so as the race went along, it became an eternal arguing match with myself over whether I should drop out or finish the race at all cost."
Despite the disappointment, she said the race, and weekend, was "an incredible experience."
Caroline Annis, a former Plant High and Stanford standout, finished 66th (2:45:41). She was a 10-time state high school champion in track and cross country.
Times staff writer Brian Landman, Times correspondent Dave Theall and Times wires contributed to this report.