Joan Benoit set a women's world record of 2:22:42 in the 87th Boston Marathon Monday, while Greg Meyer raced to a commanding overall victory. Ms. Benoit of Boston, who won this race previously in 1979, clipped nearly three minutes off the world record of 2:25:29 set by Allison Roe of New Zealand in New York two years ago and equalled by Grete Waitz of Norway Sunday in London. Canada's Jackie Gareau, the 1980 women's winner, placed second to Benoit.
Meyer, the pre-race favorite, dogged early leader Benji Durden's steps for more than half of the 26-mile, 385-yard Hopkinton-to-Boston course. Meyer of Wellesley, Mass., took the lead about 19 miles into the race and continued strongly to the end for a 2:09:00 clocking.
His time was the third fastest in the history of the race, nine seconds off the course record 2:08:51 set last year by Alberto Salazar, who did not compete this time.
Ron Tabb of Eugene, Ore., was the second place finisher in 2:09:32. Mr. Durden, a veteran runner from Stone Mountain, Ga., held on to finish third, in 2 :09:58.