Relaymedia

Christian American Runner Meb Keflezighi Wins Boston Marathon, Reclaims Race After Attack

( [email protected] ) Apr 22, 2014 11:43 AM EDT

Christian Meb Keflezighi wins 2014 Boston Marathon ABC
Christian Meb Keflezighi wins 2014 Boston Marathon (Photo: ABC News)

Christian runner Meb Keflezighi becomes first American after 30 year drought, and after terrible terrorist attack last year, to win the Boston Marathon

He led 36,000 runners to the finish line, and was the first racer to 'take back the finish line' like so many of them expressed that they wanted to do, and he gave the credit to God on his way down the home stretch.  

As CBS reports, he made the sign of the cross as he came in.

Cheers and praise rang as word of the first American man to win in Boston since 1983 spread through the runners.

The 38 year old became the oldest man to win the race since 1931, and he dominated a field that included many athletes who were prevented from finishing last year because of the attack. Keflezighi is a former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medalist, and he won this year's Boston Marathon won in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. He held off Kenyan Wilson Chebet, who finished 11 seconds behind.

He told reporters before the event that he would like to honor the vicitms form last year's race, and he had their names written on his jersey.  

Keflezighi looked over his shoulder several times over the last mile of the race. Realizing he would not be caught, he began glorifying God immediately. He began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.

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

Watching from the sidelines last year, Keflezighi said he was inspired by the tragedy that occurred then.

"That night I said to myself how wonderful would it be to come back and win this for Boston," he said.

Keflezighi;s Twitter bio includes Philippians 4:13, and he is known for his faith and Christian beliefs. He escaped war-torn Eritrea with his family in 1987 and emigrated to California, He became an American, and took up running while in high school.

.After his New York City Marathon win in 2009, he told the Wall Street Journal that "hard prayer" helped him continue running after injuries nearly stopped him before the win.  

Keflezighi, "like his parents, is a deeply religious Christian," the WSJ reported. "Though his training schedule doesn't always allow him to make it to church every Sunday, he makes time for prayer 'every day before I go to sleep and every day before I get up.'"

Keflezighi also shares his testimony in the 2010 book Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion's Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream. According to his bio from Tyndale House Publishers, Keflezighi lives in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with his wife, Yordanos, and their three daughters, Sara, Fiyori and Yohana.