BOSTON — The city of Boston showed its strength in yesterday’s 118th running of the Boston Marathon, a year after bombings rocked the event. Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan showed hers, as well.
The 32-year-old Flanagan finished seventh in the women’s race, with her fastest time of 2:22:02. She led throughout the first 19 miles, though eventually, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya passed her and defended her Boston Marathon women’s title by winning in a new course record of 2:18.57.
Meb Keflezighi won the men’s race in 2:08.35, becoming the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983.
On Twitter, President Barack Obama congratulated Keflezighi and 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.
Hundreds of runners from the North Shore were among the 32,000 participants, including Topsfield’s Brian Tinger (235th overall, 2:37.16) and Beverly’s Brian Tinger (2:54.17), who were the top local finishers among men.
Many of the racers had the names of the victims scrawled on their bodies or race bibs.
“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.”
Thousands of on-lookers and well-wishers lined the streets of the 26.2-mile course, giving the runners plenty of emotional support throughout a day marked by 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.