Sisay Lemma celebrates win the men's event at the 128th Boston Marathon.
CNN  — 

Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma won his first Boston Marathon title on Monday, finishing with a time of 2:06:17 in the men’s race, while Hellen Obiri of Kenya retained her 2023 title in the women’s race.

Lemma, who is the fourth-fastest man in history after his 2:01:48 finish in the Valencia Marathon last month, set the early pace, racing into a big lead.

And although the chasing pack closed the gap on Lemma as the race progressed, the 33-year-old was able to hold on for his second major marathon victory after winning the 2021 London Marathon.

The result cements him as one of the favorites to win gold at the Paris Olympics later this year.

Lemma finished 41 seconds ahead of Mohamed Esa in second and one minute and five seconds ahead of double-defending champion Evans Chebet in third.

The top performing men’s runner from the US was CJ Albertson who finished in seventh with an unofficial time of 2:09:53.

Shortly afterwards in the women’s race, it all came down to a thrilling finish between reigning champion Obiri and former New York City Marathon champion Sharon Lokedi.

The pair were neck-and-neck throughout the final few miles, only for Obiri to sneak ahead and retain her crown by a narrow margin of eight seconds after finishing with a time of 2:22:37.

Obiri, 34, is the first woman to win back-to-back Boston Marathons since Catherine Ndereba accomplished the feat in 2004 and 2005. She also won the New York Marathon in November last year.

Obiri crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the 2024 Boston Marathon.

The top performing US women’s runner was Emma Bates who finished with an unofficial time of 2:27:14.

Earlier in the day, Britain’s Eden Rainbow-Cooper secured her first major marathon victory with a time of 1:35:11, finishing 90 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Manuela Schär to win the women’s wheelchair event.

In doing so, the 22-year-old became the first British woman to ever win the Boston Marathon’s wheelchair race and also the first British winner of any of the event’s elite races since Geoff Smith won the elite men’s race in 1985.

“It really took everything to get that win. It was such a mentally tough challenge. Pushing a marathon on your own is so difficult. I only started [the marathon] two years ago, and I have put absolutely everything into it, and I really can’t believe this,” Rainbow-Cooper told British Athletics afterwards.

“I just had my head down for the whole race and was just focusing on my own race. I had absolutely nothing left at the end, but the crowd carried me through.

Rainbow-Cooper crosses the finish line to win the women's wheelchair race.

In the men’s wheelchair event, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race, the seventh time he’s done so, with a time of 1:15:33 despite crashing midway through the race.

Hug, nicknamed ‘the Silver Bullet,’ broke his own course record on the way to victory with the multiple-time Paralympic gold medalist continuing his dominant run in major world marathons.

CNN’s Thomas Schlachter contributed to this report.