For the first time since 1983, an American male has won the Boston Marathon.
Meb Keflezighi finished first with an unofficial time of 2:08:37. Keflezighi, who will turn 39 in May, lives in San Diego and came to the U.S. from Eritrea with his family when he was 12. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
Keflezighi, who said he has “visualized [today’s] race every day since [the bombings],” held off Wilson Chebet of Kenya who finished 11 seconds behind him. Keflezighi looked over his shoulder a number of times during the final mile and, when he realized he was going to win, he raised his sunglasses to the top of his head pumped his fist and made the sign of the cross.
“It was my dream to win Boston,” he said, “and to make it just like the Red Sox did [when they won the World Series] and do the same thing for the people.”
With Keflezighi were the four who lost their lives last year. The names of the three who were killed by the bombings at the finish line (Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard) and the MIT officer (Sean Collier) who died days later were written in small, neat letters on the four corners of his bib.
No U.S. runner had won the race since Lisa Larsen Rainsberger took the women’s title in 1985; the last American man to win was Greg Meyer in 1983.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya was the women’s winner, winning in Boston for the third time in her career. Jeptoo, who won last year’s race, set a course-record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:20:43 set in 2002 by Margaret Okayo of Kenya. American Shalane Flanagan finished sixth in 2:22:01.