Kenya's Carolina Rotich won the women's race in an unofficial 2 hours, 24 minutes, 55 seconds, outsprinting Mare Dibaba down Boylston Street to win by 4 seconds.
When Desisa won the 2013 race, there wasn't much time to celebrate. Hours after he crossed the finish line, two bombs exploded on Boylston Street and turned his victory into an afterthought. As the city mourned the three killed and 260 wounded in the explosions, he returned to Boston to donate the medal.
Now Desisa has a Boston title he can enjoy.
He won in an unofficial time of 2:09:17.
Yemane Adhane Tsegay was 31 seconds back, followed by Kenya's Wilson Chebet. Dathan Ritzenhein of Rockford, Michigan, was the first American, in seventh.
Defending champion Meb Keflezighi of San Diego was one spot behind him a year after he became the first American men's champion since 1983, galvanizing the city behind him as a symbol of patriotism and resilience.
Two years after the explosions, the race took a tentative step back toward normal.
Rotich pulled away from Ethiopians Dibaba and Buzunesh Deba for her first Boston victory. She finished fourth here in 2011.