The accident occurred around mile 11 in Natick, when Schabort and third-place fin-isher Kelly Smith still had de-fending champion Ernst Van Dyk in their sights.
"She ran straight across the street and she was looking away," Schabort said.
Schabort shouted, and he heard spectators shouting, too. But his three-wheeled racing chair, moving at about 17 mph, hit the girl with its front and left wheels, spilling Schabort.
Race officials said the girl was treated at Metro West Medical Center and released.
Schabort righted his wheel-chair and rode on, but the two-time defending champion had pulled away, finishing the men's race in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 32 seconds. Schabort finished second for the second year in a row, with a time of 1:30:07.
Van Dyk, 30, of South Africa, was on pace for a course record through the first nine miles. But Schabort and Smith were still in contention.
"I tried to do what I could to close the gap," said Schabort, 39, a South African who lives in Cedartown. "I thought I was getting closer to Ernst."
But the collision ruined his chance to make a move.
Schabort did not file an ap-peal. However, an appeal would not change the results of the race because the incident did not involve contact between racers, according to race offi-cial Steve Vaitones.
Schabort first words after arriving in the finishers' tent were, "How's the kid?" Vaitones said.
Van Dyk led the men's race wire to wire, but a headwind dashed his chances of beating the course record.
"In the end, when I crested Heartbreak Hill and I didn't see (Schabort and Smith), I was relieved. I knew they couldn't catch me after that," he said.
Only three men have won the wheelchair race in the past nine years. Switzerland's Franz Nietlispach won in 1995 and from 1997-2000. Heinz Frei won in 1994 and 1996.
In the women's wheelchair race, Christina Ripp beat Cheri Blauwet and last year's winner, Edith Hunkeler, in a three-way battle for the women's crown. Ripp, of Savoy, Ill., won in 1:54.47, besting Blauwet by 10 seconds.
The 22-year-old University of Illinois student dueled with Hunkeler and Blauwet for most of the 26.2-mile course until she and Blauwet pulled away with eight miles to go. She took the lead for good with about a mile remaining and sprinted up Boylston Street for the win.
"During the last turn (Blau-wet) and I were both tired," she said. "And we just pushed it out."
Robert Cheruiyot won the Boston Marathon by 23 seconds Monday to give Kenya its 12th victory in 13 years. Russia's Svetlana Zakharova won the women's race to prevent a sec-ond consecutive Kenyan sweep.
Cheruiyot (pronounced cheh-REE-yot) finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 11 seconds to earn $80,000, an olive wreath and a bowl of beef stew. It was just his second career marathon, having won his debut in Milan in De-cember of 2002.
Cheruiyot is the eighth Ken-yan to win Boston since his country began its domination in 1991. Kenyans swept the first five spots in the race, and eight of the top nine. Benjamin Kimu-tai was second, Martin Lel third.
Zakharova finished in 2:25:20 in the women’s division to beat fellow Russian Lyubov Denisova by 91 seconds. Her biggest challenge was staying on the course when the televi-sion truck turned away before the Back Bay finish line; she is the first Russian to win since 1993.