American Meb Keflezighi wins men's title and Rita Jeptoo defends women's title, becomes 7th 3-time winner of Boston Marathon
BOSTON (KGUN9-TV/AP) - American Meb Keflezighi has won the Boston Marathon, a year after a bombing at the finish line left three dead and more than 260 people injured.
Keflezighi is a former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medalist. He ran the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the finish on Boylston Street in Boston's Back Bay on Monday in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.
Keflezighi held off Wilson Chebet of Kenya who finished 11 seconds behind. The 38-year-old from San Diego looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile. After realizing he wouldn't be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.
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 in 1983.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the Boston Marathon title she said she could not enjoy a year ago after the fatal bombings.
Jeptoo finished Monday's race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. She becomes the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion.
Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark. Buzunesh Deba finished second with an unofficial time of 2:19:59.
American Shalane Flanagan finished fifth after leading for more than half the race. She took a gamble by setting the early pace. She ran her first mile in 5 minutes, 11 seconds, but fell back on the Newton Hills about 21 miles into the race
The 118th running of the Boston Marathon featured heavy security a year after the bombings near the race's finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
The race began at 8:50 a.m. Monday for mobility-impaired marathoners and at 9:32 a.m. for elite women. The elite male runners started at 10 a.m.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said at the starting line in Hopkinton that officials are trying to keep a traditional family feel to the marathon while maintaining tight security.
A moment of silence was observed and "America the Beautiful" was played over a loudspeaker before the start of the race.
About 36,000 runners registered for the race - the second-largest field in its history.