Abebe Mekonnen had plenty of confidence. Ingrid Kristiansen had no competition. Joan Benoit Samuelson had tears in her eyes and an uncertain future.
Mekonnen's 50-second victory in Monday's Boston Marathon continued the Ethiopian domination of the sport and was his sixth triumph in his last seven marathons.Samuelson, once the queen of the same roads that Kristiansen now reigns over, lost the women's race by more than 13 minutes.
Kristiansen took the lead at the start and never was threatened seriously in beating runner-up Marguerite Buist of New Zealand.
But Samuelson, who finished ninth, didn't lose the gritty determination that once drove her, at one time, to become the world's top female marathoner.
"I didn't have the day I wanted to have," she said in a voice choked with emotion. "I was duly humbled, and I will be back."
She just doesn't know when.
Plagued by physical problems and committed to her husband and 18- month-old daughter, the winner of the Olympic marathon in 1984 said she plans to suspend her workouts. "I can't go on with my responsibilities as a mother or a wife and keep up my training, so I'll take some time off and see if this thing will clear up on its own," she said.
Kristiansen's winning time Monday in her first victory in three meetings with Samuelson was 2:24:35. She had hoped to be the first woman to break 2:20 but said the weather "was a little too hot." The race started at noon when the temperature was 62.
Buist finished in 2:29:04. Kim Jones of Spokane, Wash., was third in 2:29:34.
Mekonnen, 25, had company until he pulled away from his final challenger with 11/2 miles left.
His winning time was 2:09:06, well off Rob de Castella's course record of 2:07:51. Juma Ikangaa of Tanzania, the runner-up in 1988, was second again, this time in 2:09:56.