News

Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon, first U.S. victor in 3 decades

Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon, first U.S. victor in 3 decades

CHAMPION: Meb Keflezighi of the United States celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the 2014 Boston Marathon. Photo: Associated Press, Reuters/Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Scott Malone, Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Richard Valdmanis

BOSTON (Reuters) – Meb Keflezighi on Monday became the first U.S. male athlete to win the Boston Marathon in three decades, an emotional performance in a city still recovering from last year’s fatal bombing attack on the world-renowned race.

Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea but is now a U.S. citizen, pulled ahead of a pack of elite African runners a little more than halfway into the race and held off a late challenge by Kenya’s Wilson Chebet as the Boston crowd chanted “USA! USA!” His official time: two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds.

Among the women, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo notched her second consecutive win of the race, smashing a 12-year course record with a blistering official time of two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds, reeling in American Shalane Flanagan, who had led the women for the first 20 miles of the 26.2-mile race, setting a punishing pace.

Flanagan, who finished seventh, gave a tearful television interview after the race.

PHOTOS: Boston Marathon 

“I love Boston so much and I really wanted to do it for this city,” said Flanagan, who was raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts. “I’m so sad I couldn’t do it for Boston.”

Three people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed and 264 were hurt when, prosecutors say, a pair of ethnic Chechen brothers left homemade bombs at the crowded finish line, tearing through the crowd.

Some 35,755 runners from 96 countries competed in the second-largest field in history for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

Among the women runners, Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia was second and compatriot Mare Dibaba third. They too turned in faster performances than the previous course record of 2:20:43 set in 2002 by Margaret Okayno of Kenya.

Among the male runners, Wilson Chebet of Kenya finished second and Frankline Chepkwony, also of Kenya, was third.

No American athlete has stood atop the podium on Boston’s Boylston Street, not far from the site of last year’s bombing, since 1985 when Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach of Michigan won the women’s race. The drought has been longer for U.S. men: Greg Meyer of Massachusetts won in 1983.

Race organizers expanded the field by some 9,000 runners this year, to allow the roughly 5,000 athletes who had been left on the course last year when the twin pressure-cooker bombs went off near the finish line another chance to compete.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bernard Orr, Sofina Mirza-Reid and Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

WATCH: Preserving Muhammad Ali’s childhood home

Fresh
15-overlay7

An effort is underway to restore the Louisville home where the boxing legend grew up.

in Entertainment

Cast of ‘Big Bang Theory’ helps students study science

bigbangtheory

Dozens of crew and cast members, including Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, have raised more than $4 million for "The Big Bang Theory" Scholarship Endowment.

in Entertainment, Lifestyle

Google wants the world’s photos

google

The online photo service is the latest example of Google's desire to wrap its tentacles around virtually every part of people's lives.

in Entertainment

Batman turns heads in Toronto car chase

23-overlay13

WATCH: The "Suicide Squad" is going to include one wicked car chase scene.

in Sports

Sharper set for change-of-plea in sex assault case

darrensharper

The former NFL star is closer to resolving charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted women in four states.