Watch the Boston Marathon live on Universal Sports at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
It had always been Meb Keflezighi’s dream to win the Boston Marathon but, when he finally did, he said he was unprepared for what it meant beyond the finish line.
“It’s been an amazing experience—it’s not just any marathon and it wasn’t just any Boston Marathon, it was 2014, after the bombing,” he said. “My friend had the front pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today framed for me. How often do athletes get to be on the front pages of all three?”
Keflezighi won the 2014 men’s race in 2:08:37, becoming the first American to win since 1985. It will not be easy for him to defend his title, and his toughest tests in this year’s race should come from Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, and Kenyans Patrick Makau and Abel Kirui.
Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the 2014 women’s race in 2:18:57—a course record—for her third victory in Boston but won’t be back to this year. She failed a drug test five months after Boston and has been banned from the sport for two years.
Without Jeptoo, the favorites are Kenyan Caroline Kilel, Ethiopians Buzunesh Deba and Mare Dibaba, and Massachusetts native Shalane Flanagan, who represents the state’s best chance yet to win the title. Flanagan finished third in her most recent marathon in Berlin. The last American woman to win the race was Lisa Rainsberger, also in 1985.
“My primary goal is to make it onto the podium because I’ve never done that before,” said Flanagan, who finished seventh last year and fourth in 2013. “If I know I’m in the top three, then I’ll get greedier from there. I want to secure the mentality of aiming for the top three because that’s important in the next year—it’s important to make the Olympic team and at the Olympics, too.”
Here are a few more links to get you ready for the marathon: