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American Meb Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon a year after bombings

Meb Keflezighi of the United States crosses the finish line to win the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. GETTY IMAGES/Jim Rogash.

American Meb Keflezighi has won the Boston Marathon, a year after a bombing at the finish line left three dead and more than 260 people injured.

Keflezighi is a former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medallist.

He ran the 42.195 kilometres from Hopkinton to the finish on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay on Monday in two hours eight minutes 37 seconds.

Keflezighi held off Wilson Chebet of Kenya who finished 11 seconds behind. The 38-year-old from San Diego looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile. After realizing he wouldn’t be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.

No U.S. runner had won the race since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took the women’s title in 1985; the last American man to win was Greg Meyer in 1983.

Edmonton’s Tom McGrath was the top Canadian, finishing 101st in 2:30:30.

In the women’s division, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the Boston Marathon title she said she could not enjoy a year ago after the fatal bombings.

Jeptoo finished Monday’s race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. She becomes the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion.

Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark. Buzunesh Deba finished second with an unofficial time of 2:19:59.

American Shalane Flanagan finished fifth after leading for more than half the race.

Lanni Marchant of London, Ont., was the top Canadian in 14th.