A year after two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks cut through spectators at the Boston Marathon, more than 32,000 runners, including many Australians, embarked on America’s great race under tight security and watched by a million-plus spectators.
America’s Meb Keflezighi won the men’s title and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo took the women’s race.
But this year the winners and the times were not so important.
“We’re taking back our race today,” race director Dave McGillivray said over the PA system before the runners embarked on the 42.195km course on Sunday.
Many of the competitors, including Keflezighi, wrote on their race bibs the names of the three spectators killed last year – schoolboy Martin Richard, 8, Boston University student Lu Lingzi, 23, and restaurant manager Krystle Marie Campbell, 29.
More than 260 others were injured in the blasts, with 14 suffering amputations.
“I wanted to win it for Boston,” Keflezighi, who came to the US as a boy from war-torn Eritrea, said.
The first Australian to finish was Andre La Gerche in 2:36:53 while Rachel Glasson in 2:47:57 was the top Australian woman.
Trent Morrow, a 40-year-old from Sydney known around the world as the Marathon Man, was another notable Australian runner.
The Boston Marathon marked the 200th marathon Morrow has run since January 1, 2013.
His world record feat of 160 marathons, across seven continents, in the past 365 days, including seven marathons the past 10 days, has left his feet blistered and stomach empty.
“I’m looking at ordering a burger right now because I’m pretty damn hungry,” Morrow told AAP.
Amazingly, his time of 3:50:01 in Boston was his fastest of the 150 marathons he has run in the US.
“It has been an amazing day and something I will remember and treasure for a lifetime,” Morrow, who runs in a blue, red and yellow caped superhero costume, said.
Morrow is not about to hang up his running shoes.
The chubby former salesman who set out on his globetrotting record chase to honour his mother Kay and stepmother Carol, who both died from cancer, and to inspire others, will run a marathon in North Carolina on May 4 before returning to Sydney on June 1 for a “Welcome Home” marathon.
By Peter Mitchell, AAP