Nearly 36,000 runners set out from the Boston Marathon starting line with security tight along the 26.2-mile course yesterday, in a show of resilience a year after the bombing that turned the race into a scene of carnage.
Two pressure-cooker bombs went off near the finishing line last year, killing three people and wounding more than 260.
American Meb Keflizighi, a former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medallist, won the men’s title y in two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds. He was the first American man to win in three decades.
Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the women’s race in a course-record two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds, defending a championship from last year. She had been hoping this year for a title she could enjoy.
She said of last year’s marathon: “It was very difficult to be happy. People were injured and children died. If I’m going to win again, I hope I can be happier and to show people, like I was supposed to last year.”
Other runners were expected to remain on the course for several hours after the winners crossed the finishing line. Last year, the bombs went off at 2.49pm local time, as spectators crowded around the finishing line to cheer the still-arriving runners about five hours into the race.
Police were deployed in force along the route yesterday, with helicopters circling above and bomb-sniffing dogs checking through rubbish bins. Officers were posted on roofs.
Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray said it had been a long and difficult year.
“We’re taking back our race,” he said. “We’re taking back the finish line.”
A total of 35,755 athletes were registered to run – the second-largest field in its history.