- Edward Lychik, of Tacoma, Wash., runs past cheering Wellesley College students during the 118th Boston Marathon.
- AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
Boston, MA - For the past week, the city of Boston, and much of the US, remembered the attacks on the 2013 Boston Marathon and the ensuing manhunt for the two brothers who carried out the attacks. The week began with the anniversary of the attacks on April 15. Local and national leaders spoke a memorial, events were held in Copley Square (site of the attacks) and the 2014 marathon was run yesterday.
In a fitting finish to the men’s race, Kenyan-born and American-raised Meb Keflezighi became the first American male to win the race since 1983.
“As an athlete, you have dreams and today is where the dream and reality meet. I was just crying at the end,” said Keflezghi in an interview after the race. “This is probably the most meaningful victory for an American, just because of what happened. It’s Patriots Day.”
He was propelled forward by the the four people killed by the Tsarnaev brothers. Their names Martin, Sean, Krystle and Lingzi, were written in each corner of his bib. Roughly a million people lined the raceway for the estimated 36,000 professional, amateur and charity runners that competed. Increased security did not prevent a more exuberant crowd from supporting all of the runners.
It was a juxtaposition to a year ago. The greater Boston area was shut down a few days after the attacks, when Dzokhar Tsarnaev was hiding from police in Watertown. Driving out of the city in the middle of that day felt much like a post-apocalyptic movie. The red lights needlessly delayed my car as there were no others on the road through Kenmore Square, near famed Fenway Park.
A year later, Kenmore was filled with shouting people and exhausted runners trying to make the final push towards the finish line in Copley Square, less than a mile away. For Keflezghi, the mantra that came out of the tragedy turned in his mind as he covered the 26.2 miles between Hopkinton and Boston in just over 2 hours.
“Boston Strong, Boston Strong, Meb Strong, Meb Strong.”
Keflezghi was a fitting winner because of his background. At the age of twelve, he and his family fled for the US from Eritrea, the small east African nation, amid its war with Ethiopia. They settled in San Diego. From there, his running career took him to UCLA on scholarship, became a US citizen and competed in the three Olympic games. He became the first American in 27 years to win the New York Marathon, in 2009.