American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon
Last year’s Boston Marathon bombings brought tears to the eyes of Americans from coast to coast. In the 2014 men’s race, West Coast running phenom Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, Calif., became the first American male to win Boston since Greg Myer in 1983, and his victory brought smiles, and this time, tears of joy to onlookers that lined Boylston Street.
Chants of “USA!, USA! USA!” rang out, along with the sound of church bells, immediately after Keflezighi crossed a finish line that had been a sight of grief for Bostonians for over 365 days.
“It was a phenomenal day,” Keflezighi told WBZ-TV. “Even before the bombs exploded last year I told [fellow elite American runner] Ryan Hall that [an American] needed to do it. Then after [the bombs] went off, we knew we had to do it … God bless America and God bless Boston.”
Keflezighi wrote the names Martin, Krystle, Lingzi and Sean on his race bib, honoring the four people who tragically passed due to the events of Boston’s week of tragedy in 2013.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” also played along Boylston Street Monday after American Tatyana McFadden, a Russian-born Paralympic champion and current Maryland resident, captured the women’s wheelchair division title just before 11 a.m..
Marblehead, Mass. native and Boston favorite Shalane Flanagan was ahead of the pack for the majority of the first hour of the women’s race but started lagging behind Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo just prior to Heartbreak Hill. Flanagan still finished with a personal-best time of 2:22:02, which was seventh overall. Remarkably, four women in total smashed the women’s course record of 2:20 Monday.
Winners and runner-ups in the 118th running of Boston:
• Meb Keflezighi (U.S., 2:08:37) edged Wilson Chebet (Kenya) in the men’s race.
• Rita Jeptoo (Kenya, 2:18:57) beat out Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) in the women’s race.
• Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa, 1:20:36) won the men’s wheelchair race.
• Tatyana McFadden (U.S. 1:35:06) won the women’s wheelchair race.
For full results, see BAA.org.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS