Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

American wins Boston Marathon


BOSTON (AP) – A year ago, an injured Meb Keflezighi watched the Boston Marathon from the stands at the finish line on Boylston Street, leaving five minutes before the bombs went off.

On Monday, with tens of thousands of spectators cheering wildly for him, the 38-year-old who emigrated from Eritrea as a child became the first U.S. man to win the race in 31 years.

“They’re saying, ‘You can pull this off. Go Meb! Go Meb!,'” he said. “I was using that as energy. I had the names of the four people that passed away on my bib. Like me, they were spectators. I was a spectator. I had them on my bib number. They helped me carry through.”

Keflezighi, running just two weeks before his 39th birthday, added Boston to a resume that includes the New York City Marathon title in 2009 and a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.

Keflezighi completed the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the finish on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay on Monday in a personal-best 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. He held off Kenya’s Wilson Chebet, who finished 11 seconds behind. Frankline Chepkwony of Kenya was 13 seconds back.

Keflezighi went out early and built a big lead. But he was looking over his shoulder several times as Chebet and Chepkwony closed the gap over the final two miles. After realizing he wouldn’t be caught, Keflezighi raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross. He threw his arms in the air and broke into tears after crossing the finish line, then draped himself in the American flag.

“Toward the end, to be honest I was a little nervous,” he said. “I was saying save something for the end.”

No U.S. runner had won the race since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took the women’s title in 1985; the last American man to win was Greg Meyer in 1983. Meyer and Keflezighi embraced after the race.

“I’m blessed to be an American and God bless America and God bless Boston for this special day,” Keflezighi said.

After breaking a 27-year American drought at the New York marathon, Keflezighi contemplated retiring after the 2012 NYC Marathon. But that race was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy, and he pulled out of the Boston Marathon last April because of injury.

He was the first American to win a medal in an Olympic marathon since Frank Shorter won gold in 1972 and silver in 1976. His 2009 New York victory broke a 27-year American drought there.


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