The hype surrounding the 2014 Boston Marathon was incredible for multiple reasons, including the tragedy of the bombs that went off near the finish line of the 2013 race and the fact this year’s field was the fastest ever assembled. There were two U.S. natives — Ryan Hall and Jason Hartmann — who were thought to have the only chance of becoming the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since Greg Meyer in 1983. But against all odds, 38-year-old former refugee from Eritrea won the race in a fashion that only seemed fitting.
There were five men in this year’s field who had career times under 2:05:30 and Keflezighi wasn’t one of them. His time of 2:08:37 was not the expected time of the winner, but one year following the tragedy at the 2013 Boston Marathon, defying odds was the theme in New England.
This was by far a personal best for Keflezighi, who took home the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and won the New York Marathon in 2009. When he crossed the finish line knowing what he had just accomplished not just for himself but for the U.S., he broke into tears and his emotions ran free despite the incredible physical strain his body had gone through the previous two hours.
For a runner born in Eritrea and then coming the United States at age 12 as a refugee via Italy, the improbable run for Keflezighi to win the Boston Marathon was a perfect parallel to the American spirit. Congrats, Meb, and go USA!