Mel Keflezighi crossing the finish line
Mel Keflezighi crossing the finish line

It’s one for the history books.

Meb Keflezighi finally achieved the goal that has evaded American runners for 31 years: the gold laurel wreath that gets handed over to the winner of the Boston Marathon.


Keflezighi became the first American man to earn the title since 1983, crossing the finish line at 2:08:37, narrowly defeating Kenyan Wilson Chebet. Kenyans have dominated the race, with a runner from the African nation winning the men’s race 19 times since 1991, USA Today reportss.

Here is Keflezighi crossing the finish line:

According to USA Today, the Eritrea-born runner kissed the ground three times when he crossed the finish line before breaking down in tears.

The Olympic medalist's win did come as somewhat of a surprise, USA Today notes, given his age (Keflezighi turns 39 next month) and the usual domination by Kenyan runners. However, spectators were delighted as the runner increasingly looked like the winner, cheering him on as he approached the Boylston Street finish line.

Kenyan Rita Jeptoo did take the women’s race, setting a record of 2:18:57.

Read more at USA Today.

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