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Steven Senne, Associated Press
Jared Ward, center, of Mapleton, Utah, leads the pack in front of Dathan Ritzenhein, left, of Belmont, Mich., and Hayato Sonoda, right, of Japan, as they run the course during he 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Natick, Mass. Ward, a a Davis High and BYU graduate, finished eighth overall.

SALT LAKE CITY — Former BYU and Davis High runner Jared Ward set his personal best at the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing eighth in a time of 2:09:25 during the 2019 version of the race under an overcast sky.

He bested his previous time in the historic marathon, after clocking a 2:15:28 to finish 10th in the 2017 Boston Marathon, his first time running it. Ward’s time Monday was also a personal best in a marathon, two minutes faster than when he finished sixth in a time of 2:11:30 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Ward held the lead early in the race Monday at the 20k checkpoint — he was a second ahead of the next two racers when the top runners were still tightly packed together. Ward stayed with the lead pack through the 30k checkpoint, when he was three seconds back of the leader. Soon after, the lead pack began to break up a bit.

Ward finished strong, edging out Kenya’s Festum Talam as they finished with the same time. Ward trailed Talam by 28 seconds heading into the final mile.

Ward was second among the American men, trailing Scott Fauble’s 2:09:09. Fauble was seventh overall in the men’s division.

"2:09, that’s been my goal for a long time, so I’m excited for that," Ward said in a video he posted on Twitter after the race. "And I do not regret leading that race. That was one of the funnest moments — I lead through Wellesley."

Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono finished first in the men’s race with a time of 2:07:57, barely edging out Ethopia’s Lelisa Desisa in second, just two seconds behind. Kenya’s Kennth Kipkemoi was third in 2:08:07.

On the women’s side, former Weber State and Ogden High runner Sarah Sellers followed up her second-place finish in 2018 with a 19th-place finish this year. Last year with a torrential downpour soaking the racers, she finished with a time of 2:44:04.

Sellers bested that time Monday, running a 2:36:42 to place eighth among American women. That was just five seconds behind her personal best of 2:36:37, which she set in the 2018 New York City Marathon.

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Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa finished first in the women’s race in a time of 2:23:31, followed by Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat in second at 2:24:13 and the United States’ Jordan Hasay in third in 2:25:20.

Prior to the race, Sellers shared a quote from the late Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it. ... You are a child of God, of infinite capacity."