Meb Keflezighi Becomes First American Male to Win Boston Marathon Since 1983

Fox News, April 21, 2014

Meb Keflezighi has become the first American male to win the Boston Marathon since 1983–one year after bombings left three dead and 264 injured.

Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo also successfully defended her women’s title, becoming the 7th 3-time winner of the race.

Keflezighi crossed the finish line with a time of 2:08:37, 11 seconds ahead of second place finisher Wilson Chebet of Kenya.

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.

Keflezighi is a three-time Olympian who won the 2009 New York City Marathon and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. His previous best finish at the Boston Marathon was third in 2006.

The last American to win the Boston Marathon was Greg Meyer, who recorded a time of 2:09:00 in 1983.

Keflezighi ran the race wearing an official runner’s bib with the names of the three people killed in last year’s marathon as well as the name of a police officer from MIT who was allegedly killed by the bombing suspect several days later. The victims were 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 23-year-old Lu Lingzi. MIT Officer Sean Collier was shot three days after the marathon.

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Jeptoo won the women’s edition of the race in a course-record time of 2:18:57. Margaret Okayo of Kenya, the previous record holder, finished with a time of 2:20:43 in 2002.

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White House spokesman Jay Carney said Keflezighi’s becoming the first American man to win the marathon in 31 years was “quite an accomplishment and a great year to do it.”

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, is awaiting trial in the attack and could get the death penalty. Prosecutors said he and his older brother–ethnic Chechens who came to the U.S. from Russia more than a decade ago–carried out the attack in retaliation for U.S. wars in Muslim lands.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police days after the bombings.

Security was noticeably heightened Monday as runners kicked off the annual race. Helicopters could be seen circling overhead as well as bomb-sniffing dogs checking through trash cans. State and local police were also spotted on the rooftops of some buildings.

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On Monday, spectators were forced to go through tight security checkpoints before being allowed near Hopkinton Common for the start of the race. A moment of silence was observed before the marathon got under way.

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More than 3,500 police officers–double the usual number–were out along the 26.2-mile course, including undercover officers with special training. At least 100 strategically positioned video cameras will monitor the crowds.

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Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi

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