Boston Marathon 2014: American Man Wins First Time!

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21:  Meb Keflezighi of the United States reacts after coming in first place in the 2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Meb becomes the first American winner of the Boston Marathon since 1983. Today marks the 118th Boston Marathon; security presence has been increased this year, due to two bombs that were detonated at the finish line last year, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Meb Keflezighi of the United States reacts after coming in first place . (Jared Wickerham/Getty)

On Monday, a little more than a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, the runners returned to Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill Avenue and, finally, Boylston Street.

Their ranks have swollen to nearly 36,000, more than the 27,000 who normally participate, to accommodate many of the 5,600 runners who were halted by the bombing.

And for the first time in more than three decades, an American won the Marathon: Meb Keflezighi finished in 2:08:37, which is the second-fastest time ever posted by an American man at the Marathon. (Read more about him here.)

By the time Keflezighi crossed the 26-mile marker, spectators had broken into a triumphant “USA” chant. Moments later, pumping his fist as U2′s “Beautiful Day” flowed through the speakers, he crossed the finish line and became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since Greg A. Meyer in 1983.

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya set a course record with a time of 2:18:57, winning the women’s field for the third time (she also won in 2006 and 2013).

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. CLARYTIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty ImagesRita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)

Earlier on Monday, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won the men’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:20:36 to claim his 10th title. Tatyana McFadden of the United States won her second consecutive women’s wheelchair race, putting up a record pace en route to a final time of 1:35:06.

Tatyana McFadden, of the United States, displays her trophy after winning the women's wheelchair division of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Tatyana McFadden after winning the women’s wheelchair division. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The blasts last year killed three people and injured more than 260, leading to a massive investigation and a manhunt that eventually shut down the city.

This year, the 118th marathon had tighter security, with 3,500 uniformed police officers monitoring the area.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 20:  People take photos of a sign reading The scene on Boylston Street, where the Boston Marathon finishes, on Sunday. (Andrew Burton/Getty)

Already, during the week of tributes and commemorations leading up to Marathon Monday, a man brought a bag with a rice cooker to the race’s finish line on the anniversary of the bombing, just hours after a tribute attended by first responders and survivors.

Boston Police tripled the number of officers at the #BostonMarathon this year. It’s evident in Cleveland Circle

— David Robichaud (@RobiWBZ) April 21, 2014

Although some had wondered whether the fear of another attack would keep people away, the city is bustling. Many people gathered in the days before the race, laying flowers at the storefront where the bombs went off and leaving tributes to those who were killed.

Headed to the start! #bostonmarathon

— Martine Powers (@martinepowers) April 21, 2014

At one point during the race, a runner fell, unable to make it to the finish line. Other runners stopped to help him up, carrying him across the finish.

Crowds assembled at the finish line well before 7 a.m., reports Wesley Lowery in Boston. Buses and trains were packed as throngs headed to Marathon parties as well as bars, restaurants and the finish line.

“I grew up here, but I hadn’t been back for years,” said Michael Herlihy, 59, who stood just past the 26-mile marker on Bolyston. “This year, I had to come.”

Thousands were standing in front of the spots where the bombs were placed last year by 2:49 p.m., the time the bombs went off last year. Rather than a moment of silence or fear, it was a moment of triumph; loud cheers rang out in the area in support of the runners still running.

Beautiful morning at the finish line of the 118th Boston

— Olga Khvan (@olgakhvan) April 21, 2014

You can watch the marathon live on the Boston Athletic Association’s site.

Competitors in the wheelchair division of the 118th Boston Marathon leave the finish line Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)Competitors in the wheelchair division of the 118th Boston Marathon leave the finish line Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Here are some other things you shouldn’t miss:

The Marathon route in 3 minutes: Here’s a time-lapse video depicting the entire course.

Where and when: The Early Lead has a viewer’s guide with notes on the route.

After a tragedy, running to honor his wife: And over at To Your Health, learn about a marathoner from Virginia who is running the race to honor his wife, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver during their training.

Mayor Walsh speaks: The new mayor of Boston talks about the Marathon and preparations for this year’s event.

Original Story By Mark Berman

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