The American Drought Is Over: Meb Keflezighi Wins The 2014 Boston Marathon

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April 21, 2014

The American drought is over.

Meb Keflezighi has won the 2014 Boston Marathon.

31 years after Greg Meyer won Boston in 1983, Meb Keflezighi ran a tremendously gutsy race to win the Boston Marathon in 2:08:37 ahead of Wilson Chebet in 2:08.48. F

Meb with Laurel Wreath

The Race
Meb and fellow American Ryan Hall led a big pack early on, then after eight miles, Meb and fellow American Josphat Boit, opened up a gap on the rest of the field after getting away in the chaos of a runner-stop. The star studded field was content to let Boit and Meb go.

Even though they weren’t running particularly fast, by half-way (1:04:21), Meb and Boit had built up a 30 second lead on the field. Boit would soon fall back, but Meb would just increase the lead. By 25k, Meb was all alone and his lead was 51 seconds.

Meb was full of run as he entered the Newton Hills and by 30k (18.6 miles), he had increased the lead to 1:21. The chasers began going after Meb the next 5k, as they all dealt with the most difficult portion of the course and Heartbreak Hill.

At 35k (21.75 miles), Meb’s lead had been cut to 51 seconds, and the chase was on in earnest. Meb had lost 30 seconds the previous 5k, as the chase pack had been whittled from nine to four: Rotterdam and Amsterdam champ Wilson Chebet, Dennis Kimetto (Japan and Chicago champ last year), Frankline Chepkwony (Dennis Kimetto’s training partner), and Markos Geneti (run 2:05 twice).

Chebet, the three time Amsterdam Marathon champion, then took the chase into his own hands. Chebet started to fly but the key in hindsight was Meb was holding up well in front, still full of run, Meb’s 22nd through 24th miles were unofficially 4:48 (big downwhill), 4:56 (slightly downhill), 4:47 (more downhill), but Chebet was gaining rapidly on him.  On the 24th mile (24:85 miles), Track and Field News’s Sean Hartnett had Chebett in an unofficial 4:32 and he was now just 12 seconds back.

At 40k (24.85 miles), the lead was just 8 seconds. Meb had lost 44 seconds over the course over 3.1 miles (14 seconds per mile), but not because he was cratering. Chebet ran the 5k from 35k to 40k in a very impressive 14:29 (4:39.7 pace). Meb was still running strong and not dying (Meb ran a slight negative split today) and it soon became clear that the really fast chase had taken its toll on Chebet as his gaining on Meb slowed to a trickle.

Unofficially on the flat 25th mile Meb ran 5:00.

Meb who had been powering alone in front for much of the race, was very much aware that Chebet was coming as Meb turned over and looked over his shoulder several times. The TV cameras showed a side shot of Meb as he drank at a drink station, and he was laboring.

Just when the race appeared to be Chebet’s, Meb found one last surge. Now it was Chebet who turned and looked over his shoulder. Wilson was paying the price for running a 14:29 5k trying catch Meb.

Meb Wins the Bosotn Marathon (More Photos Coming)

Meb Wins the Bosotn Marathon (More Photos Coming)

Can Meb Do It?
Could Meb hold him off?  Chebet got as close as 6 seconds but soon Meb’s lead started to grow.

Meb powered up Commonwealth Ave and then turned onto Hereford street still with the lead. Meb crossed himself before making the final turn on Boylston Street and the lead was over 10 seconds. Half-way down Boylston Street Meb looked back again and realized he was going to be the 2014 Boston Marathon champion. Chebet was a good distance behind him, with very little distance left. Unheralded Frankline Chepkwony in third was running faster than anyone down Boylston St, but this was Meb Keflezighi’s day.

Victory doesn’t always go to the brave, but it did today, as Meb crossed the finishline in 2:08:37, the first American Boston winner in 31 years. Chebet held on for second 11 seconds back, and Chepkwony was third two more seconds back.

Vitaliy Shafar of the Ukraine was fourth, one minute back of Meb, Markos Geneti was fifth and Americans Nick Arciniaga (2:11:47) and Jeff Eggleston (2:11:57) in seventh and eighth were both in the top 10 as Josphan Boit held on for 11th.

In their first marthon finish since the 2012 US Olympic Trials, four-time US Olypian Abdi Abridarhman was 16th in his first Boston appearance in 2:16:06 andRyan Hall was 20th in 2:17:50.

The tremendous push to catch Meb took its toll on Japan and Chicago Champ Dennis Kimetto as he would DNF after being one of four remaining chasers at 35k. Defending champ Lelisa Desisa fell off much earlier and also was a DNF.

Quick Takes: An American won the Boston Marathon. We don’t need to say more than that, but we will have much more analysis later.

Must Read: Dick Patrick (co-author of Meb’s autobiography) Meb Strong: How Meb Worked His Magic Once Again

Interview with Meb

Our partner Universal Sports caught up with Meb immediately after the race. (Interview below). Meb had wanted to do something special after last year’s bombing. He said, “I visualized the race every day since it (the bombing) happened. I wanted to do it like the Red Sox did (win the trophy for Boston)… I wanted to do it for the runners…I am blessed that God gave me the opportunity to try and touch people’s lives and you know what, ‘We did it.’ It’s not just about me, but about the United States.”

Meb admitted that he was thinking over the last few miles, “I may have gone a little too early,” but he was inspired by the crowd and was going to fight for the finish.

Last month, Meb had told LRC 99.9% of his career was fulfilled. He’s now got the missing .1%. He said, “This solidifies my career. It was 99.9% fulfilled. The .1% was missing, but now it’s more than 100%… I feel blessed to have this opportunity to win the Boston title, not just for me, but for the people.”

Video with Meb below and race highlights.

Race highlights:

Top Men – For intermediate splits,go here.

Pos.NameBIBDivisionAgeStateProj. finishProj. daytimeDiffTime
1Keflezighi, Meb (USA)19Male 18-3938CA+00:0002:08:37
2Chebet, Wilson (KEN)7Male 18-3928+00:1102:08:48
3Chepkwony, Frankline (KEN)11Male 18-3929+00:1302:08:50
4Shafar, Vitaliy (UKR)23Male 18-3932+01:0002:09:37
5Geneti, Markos (ETH)5Male 18-3929+01:1302:09:50
6Kimurer, Joel (KEN)16Male 18-3926+02:2602:11:03
7Arciniaga, Nicholas (USA)22Male 18-3930AZ+03:1002:11:47
8Eggleston, Jeffrey (USA)24Male 18-3929CO+03:2002:11:57
9Lonyangata, Paul (KEN)15Male 18-3931+03:5702:12:34
10Annani, Adil (MAR)14Male 18-3933+04:0602:12:43
11Boit, Josphat (USA)28Male 18-3930CA+04:1502:12:52
12Leon, Craig (USA)29Male 18-3929OR+05:5102:14:28
13Morgan, Mike (USA)31Male 18-3934MI+06:0302:14:40
14Sakai, Koichi (JPN)26Male 18-3928+06:1902:14:56
15April, Lusapho (RSA)17Male 18-3931+06:2202:14:59
16Abdirahman, Abdi (USA)18Male 18-3935AZ+07:2902:16:06
17Kogo, Micah (KEN)12Male 18-3927+08:3502:17:12
18Gotcher, Brett (USA)20Male 18-3929CA+08:3902:17:16
19Macpherson, Scott (USA)34Male 18-3927MO+09:0902:17:46
20Hall, Ryan (USA)6Male 18-3931CA+09:1302:17:50
21Sanca, Ruben (CPV)50Male 18-3927MA+10:2802:19:05
22Steidl, Ulrich (USA)77Male 40-4442WA+11:1102:19:48
23Hensley, Matt (USA)49Male 18-3926CO+11:1402:19:51
24Harvey, Brian (USA)199Male 18-3926MA+11:5402:20:31
25Shabunin, Viacheslav (RUS)76Male 40-4444+12:0402:20:41
26Jami, Segundo (ECU)45Male 18-3927CO+12:1502:20:52
27Havel, Kevin (USA)112Male 18-3924IL+12:1802:20:55
28Flaherty, Matt (USA)109Male 18-3928IN+12:4302:21:20
29Andrews, Tyler (USA)115Male 18-3923MA+12:5602:21:33
30Ashe, Eric (USA)133Male 18-3925MA+13:0402:21:41


Men’s Splits
60 degrees W/SW wind at 1.5 mph
Mile 1 – 4:49 – 19 men in lead pack.
Mile 2 – 4:54 (943)
Mile 3 – 4:55 (1438) 8miles. (1509 5k)
Mile 4 – 4:51 – (1929
Mile 5 – 5:00 – (2429)
Mile 6 – 4:55 (29:24) (3028 10k)
Mile 7 – 4:52 (34:16)
Mile 8 – 4:54 (39:10)
Mile 9 – 5:00 (44:10 – 45:46 for 15k)
Mile 10 – 4:58 (49:08) (Meb and Boit – 15 seconds ahead of pack)
Mile 11 – 4:56 (54:04)
Mile 12 – 4:51 (58:55)
Mile 13 – 4:54 (1:03:49 – 64:20 half)
Mile 14 – 4:48 (68:37)
Mile 15- 4:53 (1:13:30)
Mile 16 – 4:37 (1:18:07)
Milie 17- 4:59 (1:23:06)
Mile 18- 4:58 (1:28:04)
Mile 19 – 4:47 (1:32:51)
Mile 20 – 5:01 (1:37:52)
Mile 21 – 5:12 (1:43:04)
Mile 22 – 4:48 (1:47:52)
Mile 23 – 4:56 (1:52:48)
Mile 24 – 4:47 (1:57:35)
Mile 25 – 5:00 (Unofficial from tv – 2:02:35 so that would be 5:00)

2:03:43 with a mile to go – unofficial from tv.
Mile 26 – Missing