It was sure to be an unforgettable race regardless of the outcome, but the 2014 Boston Marathon gave fans in attendance more than they could have imagined on Monday.
The day got underway with plenty of emotion, but the first person across the finish line was Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win the race in over three decades.
Along with Keflezighi, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya also won her second straight marathon, as Universal Sports notes:
Here's a look at the top five results for each gender from the 2014 Boston Marathon:
|4||Jemima Jelagat Sumgong||2:20:41||KEN|
Even without Keflezighi's victory or Jeptoo's repeat, the race was laced with inspiring stories throughout the field.
Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky were spectators at the Boston Marathon just one year ago. When the first explosion occurred, both newlyweds lost their left legs in the mayhem.
But one year later, the couple sent a message of strength as they crossed the finish line together after participating in the entire race on modified wheelchairs. Downes spoke about the event, per Larry Bernstein of The Washington Post:
Amputee Patrick Downes: "We would never wish the devastation and pain we have felt on any of you." But wish u could feel the love as we have— Lenny Bernstein (@LennyMBernstein) April 15, 2014
Even with the race going off without a hitch, several runners once again showed the "Boston Strong" mentality that has resonated throughout the city over the past year.
After collapsing short of the finish line, one racer was carried to the end of the race by other participants, as Mashable notes:
As always, there were also a few interesting racers to pass the finish line in the marathon.
Apart from the intrigue of seeing several racers carry another across the line, or witnessing an inspirational story like the one Downes and Kensky brought to the race, another one showed off his talent of juggling, per Heather Waliga of WTVD in Raleigh:
Waliga also captured some of the electricity from the race as a spectator on Vine:
As much as fans awaited the running of the marathon, the outpouring of emotion and strength shown by every runner made this year's event different from any other in the history of the marathon.
With another year until the 2015 event, this year's running will be talked about until the second anniversary of the horrific bombing.
Will Meb win the event for a second straight year? Can Jeptoo make it a three-peat? And will more inspirational stories emerge as they did in the 2014 running? Those questions will be answered and more as the runners once again hit the track in the historic race just one year from now as #BostonStrong continues to prevail.
Follow R. Cory Smith Twitter: