Lee, 30, the 1996 Olympic silver medallist, pulled away from Silvio Guerra of Ecuador with just over one mile to go to win in an unofficial time of 2:09.42. Guerra came in second.
Pumping his right fist in the air as thousands of onlookers cheered his approach to the finish line, Lee was the first Korean to win the race since Kee Yong Ham in 1950.
Lee, known as one of the most celebrated runner-ups in marathon history, missed winning the 1996 Olympic marathon in Atlanta by three seconds. In his only previous attempt in Boston, Lee placed 11th in 1994.
Ndereba, 28, pulled away from the pack about halfway through the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston to win in an unofficial time of 2:23.52.
"I was fully confident," said Ndereba, who last year became the first Kenyan woman to win the Boston Marathon.
Malgorzata Sobanska of Poland came in second in the women's division.
Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won the men's wheelchair division in an unofficial time of 1:25.12. Van Dyk, who came in eighth the last time he competed in Boston two years ago, easily outdistanced the field including four-time defending champion Franz Nietlispach of Switzerland.
Van Dyk was never seriously challenged. He said he felt "attacking the first hills" and taking an early lead was his "only chance" to beat Nietlispach, who was far back in the race and never came close in his bid to win his fifth straight.
Louise Sauvage of Australia pulled away in the stretch to win the women's wheelchair division in an unofficial time of 1:53.54. Sauvage captured her fourth Boston win in five years by coming from behind in the final straightaway to overtake Edith Hunkeler of Switzerland with just yards to go to the finish line.
Sauvage, who narrowly lost last year to eight-time winner Jean Driscoll of Illinois, said this year's win was "fantastic" and a "really good race." Driscoll did not compete in this year's race.
Lee and Ndereba each won $80,000 for their first places finishes. The winners in the wheelchair races won $10,000 each.
More than 15,600 official runners took part in the event.
Copyright 2001 by United Press International.
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