BOSTON -- "The Star-Spangled Banner" played over Boylston Street in honor of an American winner of the Boston Marathon.

One year after a bombing there killed three people and left more than 260 injured, Meb Keflezighi added Boston to a resume that includes the New York City Marathon title in 2009 and a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.

Running just two weeks before his 39th birthday, he had the names of the 2013 bombing victims on his bib.

"At the end, I just kept thinking, 'Boston Strong. Boston Strong,' " he said. "I was thinking 'Give everything you have. If you get beat, that's it.' "

Keflezighi completed the 26.2 miles Monday in a personal-best 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. He held off Kenya's Wilson Chebet, who finished 11 seconds behind.

Keflezighi broke into tears after crossing the finish line, then draped himself in the American flag.

No U.S. runner had won the race since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took the women's title in 1985. The last American man to win was Greg Meyer in 1983. Meyer and Keflezighi embraced after the race.

"I'm blessed to be an American and God bless America and God bless Boston for this special day," Keflezighi said.

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the women's title she said she could not enjoy a year ago. Jeptoo finished in a course-record 2:18:57 seconds. She is a three-time Boston Marathon champion, having also won in 2006.

"I came here to support the people in Boston and show them that we are here together," she said. "I decided to support them and show them we are here together."


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Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark. Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia finished second in 2:19:59.

American Shalane Flanagan, who went to high school in nearby Marblehead, finished seventh after leading for more than half the race.

Last year's men's champion, Lelisa Desisa, did not finish this year's race, and had to be picked up by a van after about 21 miles.

Marathon officials said 35,755 runners registered for the race, with 32,408 unofficial starters. The field included just under 5,000 runners who were not able to finish last year and accepted invitations to return this year.

"We're marathon runners. We know how to endure," said Dennis Murray, a 62-year-old health care administrator from Atlanta who finished just before the explosions last year and came back to run again. "When they try to take our freedom and our democracy, we come back stronger."

On Twitter, President Barack Obama congratulated Keflezighi and Flanagan "for making America proud!"

"All of today's runners showed the world the meaning of (hash)BostonStrong," Obama wrote.

The race was held under extraordinary security, including 100 new surveillance cameras, more than 90 bomb-sniffing dogs and officers posted on roofs. State emergency officials reported no security threats other than some unattended bags.