Meb inspired by memories

American runner Meb Keflezighi said memories of the victims of last year's bomb attack carried him through the last, difficult miles of this year's Boston Marathon.

The Californian shocked observers on Monday by becoming the first American man since 1983 to win the world-renowned race, over a field of younger East African favorites.

"This is probably the most meaningful victory for an American, just because of what happened here last year," the 38-year-old told reporters shortly after breaking the tape.

"Those four victims, we can't get them back, and those people that were injured by the same token, I wanted to use their energy to win it," said Keflezighi, who ran with the names of three bombing victims and a university police officer who authorities say was shot dead by the bombers three days later, written on his race number in marker.

Keflezighi covered the race's hilly 26.2 miles (42.2. km)with a personal best time of two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds, narrowly defeating Kenyan Wilson Chebet, 28, who nipped at his heels during the final miles.

Keflezighi's approach to the race was risky. He broke off from the pack early, leaving himself vulnerable to the brutal uphills just outside Boston's city limits.

"I kept thinking Boston strong, Boston strong, Meb strong, Meb strong," he said, referring to the city's unofficial motto since the bombing.

Results: Men: Mebrahtom Keflezighi (US) 2::08:37, 1; Wilson Chebet (Kenya) 2::08:48, 2; Franklin Chepkwony (Kenya) 2::08:50, 3.

Women: Rita Jeptoo (Kenya) 2::18:57, 1; Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) 2::19:59, 2; Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia) 2::20:35, 3.

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