Celebration in Boston one year after tragedy

RIK STEVENS STEVE PEOPLES Associated Press Published:

BOSTON (AP) -- Unfinished business. Defiance. Hope, strength and resilience. They used different words but the meaning was the same for thousands of people who were stopped by twin bombings at last year's Boston Marathon and came back this year to finish what they started.

The 118th running of the storied race from Hopkinton to Boston was run under the long and still-sharp shadow of the 117th, which turned tragic when two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people, injuring more than 260 and searing the day into a city with a long memory. On this marathon Monday, there was no choice but to remember, reflect and even confront the past, but the athletes found it easier -- and more fun -- to celebrate.

Jeff Glasbrenner said he returned to Boston for some "unfinished business." after being forced to stop at mile 25.9 last year after the bombing.

"I felt like those two bad guys stopped a lot of people from going after their dreams. I needed to come back," said Glasbrenner, 41, who runs with a prosthetic right leg after losing part of his leg in a childhood farming accident.

"It was the most amazing thing crossing that finish line," he said moments after he finished the race with two other amputees, all from Arkansas. "But it wasn't for us. It was for all these people out here."

A total of 35,755 athletes were registered to run, the second-largest field in its history, with many coming to show support for the city and its signature sporting event. "Boston Strong" -- the unofficial slogan adopted after the terrorist attack -- was everywhere, from the quiet suburban starting line in Hopkinton, through the sound tunnel created by the Wellesley College student body, up fabled Heartbreak Hill and finally down Boylston Street to the finish, where the bombs went off.

The elite racers gave the crowd a reason to cheer, too.

American Meb Keflizighi won the men's title in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds, the first American man to break the tape since 1983. Keflizighi had the names of last year's victims written in black marker on the corners of his race bib.

Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won the women's race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds, defending a championship from last year. She had been hoping this year for a title she could enjoy.

At 2:49 p.m., the moment the bombs went off a year ago, there was a moment of silence followed by a swelling cheer that chased runners toward the finish, rising in a wave as it got closer to the blue and gold line that marks the end of the race.

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