MARATHON WATCH: Silence, then exultation in Boston

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Associated Press

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 22 at 7:04 AM

A look at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. For further updates, visit http://bigstory.ap.org.

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SILENCE TO NOISE: At 2:49 p.m. — the time the bombs exploded last year — a moment of remembrance was held on the course.

Near the site of the explosions, the silence was followed by the longest and most sustained cheer of the day. People screamed, whooped, whistled, clapped and rang cowbells.

— Michelle R. Smith — https://twitter.com/MRSmithAP

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LIVE FROM THE COURSE: Bill Kole, AP's New England bureau chief, ran the marathon, tweeting from every mile. At Mile 25, he reported: "This is where police stopped the race last year. Nothing but a jubilant stream of humanity today."

Kole finished in 4 hours, 33 minutes, 37 seconds. His last tweet: "Everyone's screaming on Boylston Street. For all the right reasons. 36,000 sweaty, tearful, exuberant reasons."

— Bill Kole — https://twitter.com/billkole

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MEB STRONG: Men's champion Meb Keflezighi said he kept thinking "Boston Strong, Boston Strong" as his lead dwindled over the final miles.

The American went out early and built a big lead. But he was looking over his shoulder several times as Wilson Chebet closed the gap.

Keflezighi completed the 26.2 miles in a personal-best 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. Chebet finished 11 seconds behind.

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

He sobbed as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played over Boylston Street.

— Pat Eaton-Robb — https://twitter.com/peatonrobb

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HERE TO HELP: The Boston Public Health Commission has a drop-in counseling center available near Copley Square until 8 p.m. for anyone having trouble coping. There's also a phone hotline people can call. Boston-area hospitals have been offering free mental health services ever since the bombings.

Jennifer Lawrence, a social worker at Boston Medical Center, said that in the aftermath of the bombings, more than 600 people used mental health services there. And while most needed no help after the first few months, she saw an increase in demand as the anniversary approached.

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HONORING THE FALLEN: As they make their final turn onto Boylston Street, runners are passing near Ladder 15, Engine 33 — the Boston Fire Department station that lost two firefighters in a recent deadly Back Bay fire on Beacon Street. The station has extended a ladder pointed up toward the finish line.

— Steve LeBlanc

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STEP BY STEP: Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block ran the race last year to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. McIntyre finished in under four hours — about five minutes before the bombs went off. He wasn't hurt.

The Boston native is raising money for Alzheimer's research again this year but also asked people to donate to the OneFund set up to help bombing victims.

McIntyre wrote on his blog: "We cannot and will not forget those who are still battling the challenges that were thrown upon them. And for me, I want to show up this year and honor them by continuing to run, continuing to live and strive."

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FINISHING TOGETHER: Newlyweds who each lost a leg in last year's bombing completed the marathon together this year, riding handcycles for the 26.2-mile course.

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky were newly married last year when they went to the marathon finish line to watch the runners cross. They suffered severe injuries; each lost a left leg.

On Monday, they rode side by side in the handcycle race, completing the course from Hopkinton to Boston in about 2 hours and 14 minutes. Both smiled as they rolled across the finish line, holding hands.

A spokesman for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said the couple wanted to make sure they completed the race together.

— Denise Lavoie — https://twitter.com/deniselavoie_ap

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PRESIDENTIAL CONGRATS: President Barack Obama took to Twitter to congratulate Meb Keflezighi on his victory, as well as Shalane Flanagan, the top American woman, on her finish.

"Congrats to RunMeb and ShalaneFlanagan for making America proud! All of today's runners showed the world the meaning of BostonStrong," Obama wrote.

The tweet, which was sent from the official White House Twitter account, was signed "-bo." That's how the White House identifies tweets the president sends himself.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also opened his daily briefing by congratulating Keflezighi on becoming the first American man to win the marathon in 31 years. Carney said it was "quite an accomplishment and a great year to do it."

— Julie Pace — https://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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FIRST AID: With nearly 36,000 runners attempting to run 26.2 miles, that's a lot of aches and pains. The 1,900 medical personnel have on hand 500 bags of ice, 800 cots, 4,000 adhesive bandages, 500 tubes of petroleum jelly, 25 EKG machines and 10,000 pairs of medical gloves.

— Rik Stevens — https://twitter.com/RikStevensAP

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RUNNING TO REMEMBER: Teams of runners are taking part in the marathon in memory of each of the three people killed in the bombing, along with MIT Officer Sean Collier, who was slain days later during the manhunt for the suspects.

Team MR8 is running for the Martin Richard Charitable Foundation, which honors 8-year-old Martin's message of "No more hurting people — peace" by investing in education, athletics and community. A group from Boston University supports a scholarship fund that honors Lu Lingzi, a graduate student from China. And friends of Medford native Krystle Campbell are running to raise money for a memorial fund in her name.

There is also a contingent from the Boston Fire Department, many of them first responders during last year's attack, who are running in memory of firefighters Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, who died in a recent blaze in the Back Bay.

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BACK IN BOSTON: Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the bombing, stood in the stands just past the finish line with his fiancee, Erin Hurley, and fellow amputee Adrianne Haslet-Davis. They were applauding runners as they crossed.

Bauman was wearing his prosthetics and had the help of two crutches. The group sat a few feet away from Carlos Arredondo, who helped save his life.

It was the first time Bauman had returned to the finish line area since the attacks.

"It feels great" to be back, he said. "I feel very safe."

— Michelle R. Smith and Steve Peoples

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IN THEIR HONOR: Meb Keflezighi, who gave the Boston fans their first American men's champ in more than three decades, wore the names of four victims on his running bib. Written in marker in small, neat letters in each corner were Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean.

Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard were killed in the bombings during last year's race. MIT Officer Sean Collier was killed days later in the hunt for the bombing suspects.

— Steve Peoples — https://twitter.com/sppeoples

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US CHAMP: Meb Keflezighi won the men's race, giving Boston its long-hoped-for American champion a year after the bombings.

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.

The 38-year-old from San Diego looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile. After realizing he wouldn't be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.

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JEPTOO REPEATS: Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the title she said she could not enjoy a year ago after the fatal bombings.

Jeptoo finished Monday's race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds for her third Boston Marathon win.

— Pat Eaton-Robb — https://twitter.com/peatonrobb

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