A year and six days after the tragic bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the race since 1983. On Monday, April 20, last year’s winner returns to defend his title.
“This was more than a race,” Keflezighi told The Boston Globe. “It was the people’s race, in a way. To be the American to win after 31 years — people understood the magnitude, of how long it took. But also with what was on the line, to be able to pull victory for the city, for the people, for the victims, for just peace, I feel blessed.”
In the first Boston Marathon after three people died and 260 more were injured, Keflezighi’s victory was one of the most memorable in the race’s history. But at 39 years old, he’ll have a difficult time repeating, considering the runners he’s up against.
Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa won the 2013 Boston Marathon, and he’s looking to win the race for a second time. His best ever time in a 26.2-mile race is 2 hours, four minutes and 45 seconds, which is nearly four minutes better than Keflezighi’s time last year. Patrick Makau set a then-world record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, finishing in two hours, three minutes and 38 seconds. The Kenyan runner won the Fukuoka Marathon in December, topping Keflezighi’s 2014 Boston Marathon time by 15 seconds.
Wesley Korir is looking to win the race after doing so in 2012. Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot is the last repeat winner, finishing in first place in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Geoffrey Mutai set the world record that still stands when he won the 2011 Boston Marathon, running it in two hours, three minutes and two seconds.
The 119th Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, leading runners through areas such as Ashland, Natick and Wellesley, where contestants will go through the "Scream Tunnel" at the halfway point. The race ends in downtown Boston. (Click here for the complete map of the 26.2-mile course.)
Last year’s marathon saw 36,000 runners compete. The 2015 Boston Marathon will have a field of 30,000 runners, making it the third-largest field in the race’s history. The record was set in 1996 with 38,708 runners.
The first-place finisher will be awarded $150,000. Second-place wins $75,000 and $40,000 goes to third place.