Toshihiko Seko of Japan won the 85th Boston Marathon in US record time Monday , thwarting hometown favorite Bill Rodgers' bid for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory.
Surging to the lead with about four miles to go and running powerfully the rest of the way, Seko left no doubt about his superiority on this cool, cloudy day. He covered the 26-mile, 385-yard route from Hopkinton to Boston in 2 hours , 9 minutes, and 26 seconds, breaking Rodgers's record of 2:09:27 set here in 1979.
Craig Virgin of Lebanon, Ill., was second in 2:10:26. Rodgers, seeking his fifth Boston triumph overall, wound up third even though his 2:10:34 time was nearly two minutes faster than his winning effort of a year ago.
The 24-year-old Seko, second in 1979 in his only other Boston attempt, has won every marathon he has run since, including the last three Fukuoka Internationals in his native country. Unable, like Rodgers, to compete in the Olympics because of the boycott, the 5 ft., 7 in., 132-pound runner had been pointing for another crack at Boston and had recently set world records for both 25 and 30 kilometers.
Allison Roe of New Zealand won the women's division in 2:26:45, the second fastest women's time ever. (Grete Waitz of Norway ran New York in 2:25:42 last October.) Patti Catalano of Boston was second. Joan Benoit of Brunswick, Maine, was third.