Athletes return to Boston Marathon to finish race they started one year ago

BY Ellen Rolfes  April 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM EDT
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Update 12:22 p.m ET: Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won today’s marathon, logging back-to-back wins and setting a new course record for women. Jeptoo crossed the finish line after 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds, running an average mile just under 5 minute 20 second.

She is one of only seven women who have won three Boston Marathons.

Update 12:30 p.m. ET: Meb Keflezighi, 38, an Olympic marathon runner, has become the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983. Keflezighi crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.

Thirty-six thousand athletes began the 118th Boston Marathon at the start line in Hopkinton, Mass., with adrenaline and excitement.

Runners and supporters joined together for one of the oldest annual marathons in the world, to prove that Boston is indeed “Boston Strong.”

On April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded on Boylston Street near the finish line of the race. The pressure cooker bombs killed three people and injured more than 260.

More than 5,000 runners last year were unable to complete the race after the bombs exploded. This year, 80 percent of them accepted the Boston Athletic Association’s invitation to come back and participate in the race.

Heavy security was visible at all points of the race with state and local police officers stationed everywhere. The AP reports that helicopters are monitoring from the skies and bomb-sniffing dogs are searching trash cans while more than 100 cameras along the race route monitor the crowd. Observers were sometimes required to to go through multiple security checkpoints before being allowed near the start line.

Before the race began, the emcee recited the names of the four people who died last year, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and police officer Sean Collier and runners and crowds observed a moment of silence.

The mobility impaired entrants were the first to begin the race at 8:50 a.m. EDT, followed by entrants in push rim wheelchairs and handcycles. The elite women and men kicked off at 9:32 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively. The last wave of entrants leave the start line at 11:25 a.m.

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya returned to defend their titles as champions of the Boston Marathon. Desisa won last year’s race for the men with a time of 2:10:22 and Jeptoo won for the women with a time of 2:26:25.

Watch a live stream of the marathon on the Boston Athletic Association’s website.