In show of defiance, 32,000 run Boston Marathon

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2014 at 6:19 pm •  Published: April 21, 2014
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BOSTON (AP) — Some ran to honor the dead and wounded. Others were out to prove something to the world about their sport, the city or their country. And some wanted to prove something to themselves.

With the names of the victims scrawled on their bodies or their race bibs, more than 32,000 people ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday in a powerful show of defiance a year after the deadly bombing.

"We're marathon runners. We know how to endure," said Dennis Murray, a 62-year-old health care administrator from Atlanta who finished just before the explosions last year and came back to run again. "When they try to take our freedom and our democracy, we come back stronger."

The two pressure cooker bombs that went off near the end of the 26.2-mile course last year killed three people and wounded more than 260 in a spectacle of torn limbs, acrid smoke and broken glass. But the city vowed to return even stronger, and the victory by Meb Keflezighi — the first American in 31 years to win the men's race — helped deliver on that promise.

On Twitter, President Barack Obama congratulated Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan, the top American finisher among the women, "for making America proud!"

"All of today's runners showed the world the meaning of #BostonStrong," Obama wrote.

The race was held under extraordinary security, including 100 new surveillance cameras, more than 90 bomb-sniffing dogs and officers posted on roofs.

As runners continued to drag themselves across the finish line in the late afternoon, more than six hours into the race, state emergency officials reported no security threats other than some unattended bags.

Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won the women's race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds, defending the title she won last year but could not celebrate because of the tragedy.

Keflezighi, who did not run last year because of an injury, won the main event this year in 2:08:37. A 38-year-old U.S. citizen who emigrated from Eritrea as a boy, Keflezighi wrote the names of the three dead on his bib along with that of the MIT police officer killed during the manhunt.

As he was presented with the trophy and golden laurel wreath, "The Star-Spangled Banner" echoed over Boylston Street, where the explosions rang out a year ago.

"I came as a refugee, and the United States gave me hope," said Keflezighi, who was welcomed by fans chanting "U.S.A.!" ''This is probably the most meaningful victory for an American, because of what happened last year."

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