TIME Athletes

Meb Keflezighi Wins 2014 Boston Marathon

TIMOTHY A. CLARY—AFP/Getty Images Meb Keflezighi of the US, celebrates after winning the Men's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2014 .

The 38-year-old became the first American to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years

Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 on Monday. He completed the race in 2:08:37.

Keflezighi has a long list of running achievements. He won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon and in 2009 became the first American to win the New York City marathon in 27 years.

His win in Boston was unexpected: Keflezighi will turn 39 next month and many believed that his age would prevent him from beating out his foreign competitors. Since 1991, a Kenyan has won the Boston marathon 19 times.

Born in Eritrea, Keflezighi moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. When he won the New York City marathon, there was some debate over whether he was “really” American. A CNBC.com commentary claimed that claiming Keflezighi as American was like taking pride in “a ringer you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.”

But in a 2012 interview with TIME’s Sean Gregory, Keflezighi said he might not have become a runner had he not become an American citizen. “I ran my first mile here,” Keflezighi said. “I didn’t know the sport was an option in Eritrea.” The marathon champion learned to run cross-country in elementary school in San Diego and attended UCLA.

Keflezighi’s American pride was on display Monday as he made history just one year after the Boston Marathon bombings. After crossing the finish line, he raised his arms, looked up at the sky and kissed the ground three times before taking a bow, according to USA Today. He then began to cry. He didn’t race last year but watched in the stands, departing only five minutes before the bombs went off.

Keflezighi lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters.


Why I’m Running the Boston Marathon Again

Image courtesy of Dave Fortier. Fortier, who ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, will compete again this year.

Massachusetts resident Dave Fortier, who was injured near the finish line, is setting out to reclaim what was taken from him last year.

I never considered myself a runner, but five years ago my best friend Brad called to tell me he had cancer. Brad was always the fit one, and I decided running could be a way for me to support him and raise money for his cause, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Before I knew it, I had signed up for my first marathon: the 2013 Boston Marathon.

The evening before the race my family walked down Boylston Street to scope out where they should stand during the marathon. We decided the area by the finish line would be too packed, and so they chose an area further back. When we passed the medical tent, my 14-year-old daughter said to me, “Dad, I hope you don’t end up here.”

The marathon was tough, but when I reached the 20-mile mark, I remember thinking to myself, this is it. My body was tired, but I was genuinely having a great time. I thought about Brad as I pushed through the last few miles–he was undergoing chemo at the time. I came up to the street where my family was, and I was rejuvenated when I saw them yelling and waving. When I turned onto Boylston Street, I was hugging the left side of the road like my training plan had advised. I started waving to the people cheering on the sidelines. I even stopped to thank a soldier for his service. I could see the arches over the finish line only 10 yards away and I was overwhelmed with excitement.

Then, suddenly, everything changed.

There was a huge flash to my left, right where I was waving to fans only a moment before. I felt the bang, and immediately grabbed my head in pain. My foot was hit with shrapnel, and an older man in orange (you may recognize him from footage of the explosion) collapsed in front of me.

I saw and felt the second blast, but I could barely hear it. I looked down and realized my foot was in a pool of blood, and I limped to the very medical tent my daughter didn’t want me to go.

Lying in the hospital bed later that day, I felt my phone buzz. It was a text from the Boston Athletic Association: “Congratulations on your time, you finished the Boston Marathon!”

Recovery was not easy, but I started trying to jog a bit in late May. I still have hearing loss in my left ear and I can feel the injuries in my foot, but by that summer I was running without much pain. Running is how I support Brad, so I was determined to continue. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $61 million for cancer research. I’m one of more than 700 runners on the team this year raising money. I even ran the New York City Marathon in November.

I decided I also needed to start taking care of my emotional self to better understand my physical and hearing related issues, and I joined a support group for people injured in the bombing. I realized when I met them for the first time that these were the very same people I was waving to at the finish. We understand each other’s pain. We saw and felt the same things, we were within feet of each other when it all happened.

In the late fall it was announced that everyone injured in the bombings received two entries into this year’s marathon. Many of the people within my support group dealing with similar injuries were ecstatic. This was the marathon where we could take back our hearing, take back that chunk from our leg, take back our ability to walk. It wasn’t a tough decision to sign up for the second time. We’ve created a running group called 4.15 Strong, and 28 of us will be running the Boston Marathon. We’re a rag-tag group of runners. Some of us are limping, some walking, some running.

I’m constantly thinking about what it will be like to run that route again. I’ve made myself return to Boylston Street many times so that it won’t be as emotional on race day. It’s already set up just like it was last year. This year, I’ll be at the finish line to make sure all 28 of us make it across. We are taking back what was taken away from us last year as runners and spectators….and we’re running for those that can’t.

You hear a lot about “Boston Strong,” resilience, and recovery. I’ve seen what that means. I’ve witnessed people learn how to walk again with one leg, or learn how to walk with two new legs. People just don’t give up, we adapt and we persevere.

Dave Fortier lives outside of Boston in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he owns a process and network optimization company. He lives with his wife and two daughters. You can visit his marathon fundraising page here.

TIME boston strong

Boston Is Ready to Run Again: Stories of Resilience One Year Later

A year after tragedy hit their hometown streets, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings plan to run again

This week, survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The events that unfolded starting at 2:49 p.m. on April 15, 2013, nearly three hours after the race’s winners crossed the finish line, altered lives forever.

In this gripping video feature, survivors and runners who were at the finish line remember the frantic moments of that deadly day.

A year after two bombs claimed three lives and injured more than 260 people, their stories of survival are a testament to Boston’s resilient spirit in the aftermath of the bombings. Their resolution to run again on Monday, the day the race takes place this year, comes from the determination to continue to rebuild, drawing strength from the heroics they saw that day.


TIME 2014 Boston Marathon

Prosecutors: Don’t Let Tsarnaev See Victims’ Autopsy Photos

If granted, prosecutors' request may mean that Tsarnaev would not have access to graphic photos taken during the investigation

Federal prosecutors want to prevent accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from seeing autopsy photographs of the bombing’s victims, unless the photos are used at his trial.

Prosecutors said that allowing the man accused of setting off the explosives to see graphic photos of their lifeless bodies “would violate the victims’ rights to dignity and privacy and subject them to needless harm and suffering,” according to court documents filed on Monday.

The photos show the mutilated, semi-naked bodies of the victims. “He does not need to review photos that will not be used against him in order to prepare his case or exercise any of his constitutional rights,” prosecutors wrote. Restricting Tsarnaev’s access to the images would not hinder any of his constitutional rights, prosecutors said.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of orchestrating the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others. He and his brother Tamerlan, who was killed during the post-marathon manhunt, also allegedly killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge.

Read more: Boston Bombing: What it Was Like Photographing Suspect’s Arrest

TIME Crime

Boston is Amping Up Security for Marathon

Kurt Schwartz
Elise Amendola—AP Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz speaks during a news conference in Framingham, Mass., on March 10, 2014.

Marathon officials announce sweeping security precautions ahead of next month's race, including more than double the number of police officers who were stationed there last year, when two deadly explosions rocked the finish line

With an anticipated one million people expected to gather at the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon, exactly where two bombs went off killing three and injuring more than 260 last year, law enforcement officials said Monday that they are tightening security around what will be a very symbolic race.

More than 3,500 police officers, double the 2013 presence, will be present at the race to protect supporters and runners alike, the New York Times reports. Some 36,000 people will be running the race, which is up 9,000 from last year. Twice the usual number of spectators are expected.

Here are some of the precautions that officials announced they would be taking for the April 21 marathon. Plans were made by public safety officials from around the world and the eight towns and cities along the marathon’s course:

  • Spectators are strongly discouraged from wearing vests with large pockets and bringing strollers, backpacks, coolers, and other large bags. Rather they are being asked to keep all items in clear plastic bags.
  • Anyone who does bring a large bag will be subject to search.
  • “Bandits” — also known as unregistered runners who join in the race at random intervals — will be strictly prohibited from the marathon.
  • Spectators and runners alike can only bring one liter of liquid.
  • People can’t wear cumbersome costumes or cover their face.
  • The doubled security force will include private security officers and plainclothes officers. The force will be complemented by hundreds of surveillance cameras, bomb sniffing dogs and security checkpoints.

“We have to get this right 110 percent of the time,” Boston FBI agent Kieran L. Ramsey said, according to the Times. “The bad guys only have to get lucky once.”

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