It was a special day for Bostonians and Americans alike Monday as the 118th running of the Boston Marathon went on without a hitch a year after the infamous bombings that rocked the city’s streets.
But in 2014, it was a celebration of the strength of a city and the perseverance of the human spirit as history was made. For the first time since 1983, an American man crossed the finish line on Boylston St. first.
American Meb Keflizighi claimed the men’s title in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. Fittingly, he had the names of last year’s victims written in black marker on his race bib.
At 39, Keflizighi was thought to be past his running prime, his best days in the rearview mirror. Three years ago he lost his Nike shoe sponsorship, but 2014 served as a comeback for the American who became the oldest champion since 1930 and produced some symmetry to the comeback of the city of Boston, albeit with a bunch of new security measures in place.
“This is probably the most meaningful victory for an American because of what happened last year. I’m almost 39. I just ran a personal best. I just won the Boston Marathon. I feel blessed,” Keflizighi says.
As for the women, former Tar Heel runner Shalane Flanagan led for the first 19 miles of the race, but ultimately, her personal best time wasn’t enough to top defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya this year. However, Flanagan held on down the stretch to record another top ten finish at the prestigious event.
“I just love Boston so much. I just wanted my love for Boston to be portrayed through my race today,” Flanagan says.
It was a memorable staging of one of the most iconic events on the sports calendar. In the end, on this day, Boston and the entire nation, won.