On Monday, a little more than a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, the runners returned to Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill Avenue and, finally, Boylston Street.
And for the first time in more than three decades, an American won the Marathon: Meb Keflezighi finished in 2:08:37, which is the second-fastest time ever posted by an American man at the Marathon. (Read more about him here.)
By the time Keflezighi crossed the 26-mile marker, spectators had broken into a triumphant “USA” chant. Moments later, pumping his fist as U2′s “Beautiful Day” flowed through the speakers, he crossed the finish line and became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since Greg A. Meyer in 1983.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya set a course record with a time of 2:18:57, winning the women’s field for the third time (she also won in 2006 and 2013).
Earlier on Monday, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won the men’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:20:36 to claim his 10th title. Tatyana McFadden of the United States won her second consecutive women’s wheelchair race, putting up a record pace en route to a final time of 1:35:06.
Already, during the week of tributes and commemorations leading up to Marathon Monday, a man brought a bag with a rice cooker to the race’s finish line on the anniversary of the bombing, just hours after a tribute attended by first responders and survivors.
— David Robichaud (@RobiWBZ) April 21, 2014
Although some had wondered whether the fear of another attack would keep people away, the city is bustling. Many people gathered in the days before the race, laying flowers at the storefront where the bombs went off and leaving tributes to those who were killed.
— Martine Powers (@martinepowers) April 21, 2014
At one point during the race, a runner fell, unable to make it to the finish line. Other runners stopped to help him up, carrying him across the finish.
Crowds assembled at the finish line well before 7 a.m., reports Wesley Lowery in Boston. Buses and trains were packed as throngs headed to Marathon parties as well as bars, restaurants and the finish line.
“I grew up here, but I hadn’t been back for years,” said Michael Herlihy, 59, who stood just past the 26-mile marker on Bolyston. “This year, I had to come.”
Thousands were standing in front of the spots where the bombs were placed last year by 2:49 p.m., the time the bombs went off last year. Rather than a moment of silence or fear, it was a moment of triumph; loud cheers rang out in the area in support of the runners still running.
Beautiful morning at the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon. pic.twitter.com/ntYZwb0OAS
— Olga Khvan (@olgakhvan) April 21, 2014
You can watch the marathon live on the Boston Athletic Association’s site.
Here are some other things you shouldn’t miss:
The Marathon route in 3 minutes: Here’s a time-lapse video depicting the entire course.
Where and when: The Early Lead has a viewer’s guide with notes on the route.
After a tragedy, running to honor his wife: And over at To Your Health, learn about a marathoner from Virginia who is running the race to honor his wife, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver during their training.
Mayor Walsh speaks: The new mayor of Boston talks about the Marathon and preparations for this year’s event.
This post will be updated throughout the day. First published: 7 a.m. Last updated: 3 p.m.