Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Historic 118th Boston Marathon
Jeptoo sets course record and captures third Boston crown, Meb is first American male to win in Boston in 31 years
Posted Monday, 21 April, 2014
BOSTON - One year after an explosive attack rocked the Boylston Street finish line, Monday’s running of the Boston Marathon -- the 118th edition of the world’s oldest modern 26.2-mile race -- was all about redemption. An emotional day for runners, spectators, race organizers and especially for the bombing survivors, today's race set out to define the #BostonStrong spirit.
The intense emotion fueled competitive passion in the elite competition, where 2004 Olympic silver medalist and Meb Keflezighi (right, photo credit Peter Maksimow) became the first American man since Greg Meyer (1983) to win the men’s race. The 38-year-old Keflezighi’s winning time was 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds - a personal best for the 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion..
In the women's race, USA favorite and hometown hero Shalane Flanagan ran a gutsy race, pushing the pace and leading for more than 20 miles, but ultimtately it was Rita Jeptoo of Kenya who repeated as the women’s champion. The 33-year-old won her third Boston title with a course record 2:18:57 and was more than 7 minutes faster than her 2013 victory last year.
With near-perfect conditions at the start--54 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, and calm winds—the elite women’s race kicked off first at 9:30 a.m.. Right from the beginning, Flanagan, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000m who lives and trains in Oregon, set a blistering opening pace, clocking a blazing 5:11 opening mile.
Fired up thanks to the flag-waving crowds, Flanagan held the lead at 10K with a 32:32 split, and remained in the front through the half-marathon mark (1:09:25). However, things began to unravel for Flanagan at the 20-mile mark, when a chase pack comprised of Jeptoo, Jemima Sumgong (Kenya), and Ethiopians Mare Dibaba, Meselech Melkamu, and Buzunesh Deba reeled her in. Flanagan ended up placing seventh overall in 2:22:02, a personal best for her by more than three minutes. Desiree Linden, who was second here in 2011 and had been training in Kenya for this year’s race, ended up in tenth, and the second American woman, in 2:23:54.
After Flanagan faded, it became a footrace between the five East African runners. However, Jeptoo was the one with an extra gear. The Kenyan ace, who won in 2006 and last year, dropped the hammer between the 35 and 40K mark and none of her competitors could respond. Jeptoo cruised to the finish, breaking the tape in 2:18:57—a new course record. The previous top mark, 2:20:43, had belonged to Kenya’s Margaret Okayu who ran that time in 2002. The last American woman to win in Boston was Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.
"I literally ran as hard as I could,” Flanagan said afterwards. "I wanted to set the tone for the day and just give my all."
In the men's race, from the sounding gun it was Keflezighi’s race to lose. The 38-year-old, who emigrated to the U.S. from Eritrea when he was a child, made an aggressive opening move. He was at the front of a 22-strong pack through 5K (15:09), and as the race began to unfold, notched up the pace with only fellow American Josphat Boit being able to stick with him. At the 8-mile mark, the pair had an 8-second lead over the rest of the field.
The duo clocked 1:08:37 by mile 14 with a 33-second lead, and at that point Boit faded. Incredibly, Keflezighi continued his assault without showing any signs of fatigue. With just over 3 miles left in the race, Keflezighi was 40 seconds ahead of his competitors, but then the dynamic began to change as Kenya’s Wilson Chebet slowly began reeling in Keflezighi.
But Keflezighi kept at it and came down Boylston Street in first place amid the deafening roar of the crowd. He broke the tape and immediately kissed the ground three times. Tears began to run down his cheeks.
“It’s beyond words,” Keflezighi said to camera crews at the finish. “This is for Boston, the United States, and the world. We are resilient and never give up.”
When asked about Chebet’s chances of catching him, Keflezighi admitted he was worried. “I was a little fearful from the end, but I was running strong. Boston Strong. I do the small things [in training] and God has blessed me in many ways.”
Chebet ended up coming across the line second in 2:08:48. Boit, who was the only runner to stick with Keflezighi in the early stages of the race (the two have trained together in Mammoth), faded to 11th overall (2:12:52).
Over 36,000 runners, the second-largest Boston turnout ever, ran the famous course on Patriot’s Day. Many participants wore “Boston Strong” shirts and hats as a tribute to the victims and survivors of last year’s bombing - the four people killed and hundreds injured were remembered and celebrated every step of the way.
118th Boston Marathon
Boston, MA, Monday, April 21, 2014
1 Keflezighi, Meb 2:08:37 USA $150,000
2 Chebet, Wilson 2:08:48 KEN 75,000
3 Chepkwony, Frankline 2:08:50 KEN $40,000
4 Shafar, Vitaliy 2:09:37 UKR $25,000
5 Geneti, Markos 2:09:50 ETH $15,000
6 Kimurer, Joel 2:11:03 KEN $12,000
7 Arciniaga, Nicholas 2:11:47 USA $9,000
8 Eggleston, Jeffrey 2:11:57 USA $7,400
9 Lonyangata, Paul 2:12:34 KEN $5,700
10 Annani, Adil 2:12:43 MAR $4,200
11 Boit, Josphat 2:12:52 USA $2,600
12 Leon, Craig 2:14:28 USA $2,100
13 Morgan, Mike G. 2:14:40 USA $1,800
14 Sakai, Koichi 2:14:56 JPN $1,700
15 April, Lusapho 2:14:59 RSA $1,500
1 Jeptoo, Rita 2:18:57 KEN $175,000*
2 Deba, Buzunesh 2:19:59 ETH $75,000
3 Dibaba, Mare 2:20:35 ETH $40,000
4 Sumgong, Jemima Jelagat 2:20:41 KEN $25,000
5 Melkamu, Meselech 2:21:28 ETH $15,000
6 Duliba, Aleksandra 2:21:29 BLR $12,000
7 Flanagan, Shalane 2:22:02 USA $9,000
8 Cherop, Sharon 2:23:00 KEN $7,400
9 Ongori, Philes 2:23:22 KEN $5,700
10 Linden, Desiree 2:23:54 USA $4,200
11 Oljira, Belaynesh 2:24:21 ETH $2,600
12 Esayias, Yeshi 2:27:40 ETH $2,100
13 Petrova Arkhipova, Tatiana 2:30:29 RUS $1,800
14 Marchant, Lanni 2:30:34 CAN $1,700
15 Nelson, Adriana 2:31:15 USA $1,500
*Includes $25,000 course record bonus
For full race results, visit http://www.baa.org