The Boston Marathon has not seen an American Man win since 1983. But that changed today when Meb Keflezighi battled two Kenyans late in the race, was able to hold them off, and bring home the victory.
This Boston Marathon victory is Meb Keflezighi’s third career marathon win. He took the TCS New York City Marathon in 2009 as well as the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012.
Pumping his fist in the air to a cheering crowd as he crossed the finish line, Keflezghi’s win was fitting, bringing the Boston Marathon championship home to America after the historic Boston race suffered the tragic terrorist bombings of 2013.
The crowd chanting “USA! USA! USA!”, Keflezighi finished his run up Boylston Street and crossed the Boston Marathon finish line – the site of last year’s bombing – with an unofficial time of 2:08:36.
Greg Meyer was the last American man to win the Boston Marathon back in 1983.
The women’s divisions began earlier and the female winner was a Kenyan, Rita Jeptoo, who won last year’s race also. Jeptoo set a new Boston Marathon course record, crossing the line at 2:18:57.
In the wake of last year’s bombings, this year’s Boston Marathon security measures were, not surprisingly, tight and as thorough as possible.
“We think we’ve got the bases covered here today,” said State Police Colonel Timothy Alben. “We’re very confident about the safety. It’s going to be a great day.”
According to Boston Athletic Association officials, over 1 million marathon fans lined the course, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said no threats or new intelligence on potential threats had been reported to law enforcement:
“The security is great today in Boston. We certainly have a great plan put in place for the marathon route. People will have a great experience today. They will see police out there and there will be other police people won’t see today.”
Hundreds of local, state and military police were present at the marathon starting line in the town of Hopkinton. New security measures were clearly evident, with a series of white metal gates in place to separate the runners at the marathon starting line from spectators.
Gov. Deval Patrick counted down to the Boston Marathon’s start, sending off the mobile-impaired athletes to begin the bitter-sweet day.
“We’re back,” Patrick said, sporting a Boston Red Sox hat with the “Boston Strong” slogan. “This will be the biggest block party we have and I think a really happy one… We have prepared. We have done, I think, just about everything possible that can be done to be prepared to strike that balance… between having adequate security, and indeed stepped-up security, but keeping the family feel of the day, and I think we’ve struck that balance.”
Patrick acknowledged the emotion surrounding the Boston Marathon this year, reflecting on a conversation he had had earlier with a woman who was injured in the bombings last year while cheering marathoners on.
“She was herself hurt,” Patrick said. “She wanted to run today to acknowledge her own healing. And just before we set off the runners, she burst into tears. And I think there are going to be a lot of experiences and emotions like that today.”
As of this writing all is well at the Boston Marathon, runners, spectators and officials, all Boston Strong.