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

4 hours ago in Local

Wanted: Warmer, Drier Weather for Crops

Updated
farm

Illinois corn and soybean crops are in decent shape depending on the region, but most could benefit from warmer weather and a little less rain.

4 hours ago in Local

1 Dead, FBI Agents Wounded, During Incident

Updated
gun

The FBI says two of its agents were shot and wounded while trying to serve an arrest warrant at a suburban Chicago home, and that the man they were seeking there is dead.

4 hours ago in Local

Rift Over Animal Adoption

Updated
5-24-16 Beagles at Capitol

A bill that would've required universities in Illinois to offer healthy cats and dogs to rescue organizations after animal testing has provoked a dispute between its Democratic sponsor and the University of Illinois.

4 hours ago in Local

Remap Group Has Enough Signatures for Ballot

Updated
il map clipart

Election officials say a group that wants voters to decide if an independent commission should draw Illinois' political boundaries appears to have enough valid signatures for November's ballot.

5 hours ago in Local

Faith Coalition Backs Manar’s Education Funding Reforms

Faith Coalition Logo copy

Faith Coalition: Republicans Need to Support Manar's proposal.