Dyk wins wheelchair race

Wheelchair winners: Ernst Van Dyk (left) and Christina Ripp. — Pic. AP-Wheelchair winners: Ernst Van Dyk (left) and Christina Ripp. — Pic. AP

Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won his third straight Boston Marathon in the men's wheelchair division.

Van Dyk finished in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 32 seconds. Krige Schabort finished second for the second year in a row despite colliding with a young fan. The girl was not seriously injured.

Van Dyk led the men's race wire to wire, but a headwind dashed his chances of beating the course record.

"In the end, when I crested Heartbreak Hill and I didn't see (Schabort and Kelley Smith), I was relieved. I knew they couldn't catch me after that,'' he said.

Only three men have won the wheelchair race in the past nine years. Switzerland's Franz Nietlispach won in 1995 and from 1997-2000. Heinz Frei won in 1994 and 1996.

"I tried to do what I could to close the gap,'' Schabort said. "I thought I was getting closer to Ernst.'' But the collision ruined his chance to make a move.

"She ran straight across the street and she was looking away,'' he said.

He shouted, and he heard spectators shouting, too. But his three-wheeled racing chair hit the girl with its front and left wheels, spilling Schabort.

Race officials said the girl was treated at Metro West Medical Center and released.

Schabort did not file an appeal. However, an appeal would not change the results of the race because the incident did not involve contact between racers, race official Steve Vaitones said.

Schabort first words after arriving in the finishers' tent were "How's the kid?'' Vaitones said.

In the women's race, Christina Ripp bested Cheri Blauwet and last year's winner, Edith Hunkeler, in a three-way battle for the women's crown. Ripp won in 1:54.47, beating Blauwet by 10 seconds.