Rare U.S. win at Boston Marathon
BOSTON—“The Star-Spangled Banner” played over Boylston Street in honour of an American winner of the Boston Marathon.
One year after a bombing there killed three people and left more than 260 injured, Meb Keflezighi added Boston to a résumé that includes the New York City Marathon title in 2009 and a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.
“At the end, I just kept thinking, ‘Boston Strong. Boston Strong,’” he said.
“I was thinking ‘Give everything you have. If you get beat, that’s it.’”
Keflezighi completed the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the finish on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay yesterday in a personal-best time of two hours, eight minutes, and 37 seconds.
He held off Kenya’s Wilson Chebet, who finished 11 seconds behind.
Edmonton’s Tom McGrath was the top Canadian—finishing 101st in 2:30:24.
Keflezighi went out early and built a big lead. But he was looking over his shoulder several times as Chebet closed the gap over the final two miles.
After realizing he wouldn’t be caught, Keflezighi raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist, and made the sign of the cross.
He broke into tears after crossing the finish line, then draped himself in the American flag.
No U.S. runner had won the race since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took the women’s title in 1985.
The last American man to win was Greg Meyer back in 1983.
Meyer and Keflezighi embraced after the race.
“I’m blessed to be an American, and God bless America and God bless Boston for this special day,” Keflezighi said.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the women’s title she said she could not enjoy a year ago.
Jeptoo finished in a course-record 2:18:57 seconds.
She is a three-time Boston Marathon champion, having also won in 2006.
“I came here to support the people in Boston and show them that we are here together,” Jeptoo said.
“I decided to support them and show them we are here together.”
Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark.
Lanni Marchant of London, Ont. was the top Canadian in 14th.