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A look at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

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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. She becomes the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion.

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

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HOW HEARTBREAK GOT ITS NAME: Heartbreak Hill, the pinnacle of a series of hills that stretch about 4 miles through Newton, lives up to its name. After 16 mostly hilly miles, sore and tired thighs must now propel a racer up, up, up. It sure gets the heart pumping and can drain the best runner.

But it wasn't a physical blow that gave it its name.

During the 1936 race, hometown hero Johnny Kelley was looking for a repeat when he tangled with Ellison "Tarzan" Brown. Catching the Rhode Island phenom in the hills, Kelley patted his rival on the shoulder as he passed him on the final climb. But instead of discouraging Brown, it fired him up, and he passed Kelley. By the time they sailed past Boston College, Kelley was done. Boston Globe sportswriter Jerry Nason the next day described the defeat as "breaking Kelley's heart."

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

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LIVE FROM THE COURSE: Bill Kole, AP's New England bureau chief, is running the race — and tweeting from every mile.

Some highlights:

"Mile 2: Local dudes offering us beers and cigarettes. Um, I'll pass, thanks."

"Mile 4: Someone just channeled Red Sox slugger David Ortiz: 'This is our (expletive) marathon!'"

"Mile 7: Helicopters are thundering overhead, but runners are gazing resolutely at the long ribbon of asphalt ahead."

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

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SECURE AREA: For all the talk of enhanced security, there were no metal detectors at some security checkpoints around the finish line Monday morning, nor were security guards patting down people or checking their pockets as they entered the secured area around where last year's bombing took place.

Such pat downs are common at large gatherings such as professional sporting events or concerts.

Security guards along the finish line focused instead on those carrying bags, which were searched before people were allowed to enter the fenced perimeter.

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

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SCREAM TUNNEL: As waves of runners pass by, the noise from Wellesley College students has escalated and fans are going wild, rattling cowbells. One holds a sign that has a slot for a young woman's face, calling it a "kissing booth." Freshman Ashley De La Russo wipes sweat off her face after getting a big smooch from one runner who she says was pretty cute. "The energy here is amazing," said De La Russo, from Orlando, Fla. "I knew it was going to be a scream tunnel, but this is just unbelievable."

— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458

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WAVING FLAGS: Carlos Arredondo and his wife, Melida, are standing in the viewing stands just past the finish line waving small American flags. Arredondo was wearing his trademark cowboy hat and a Boston Strong shirt.

 

The two were at last year's race, handing out flags, when the bombs went off.

Arredondo quickly ran to the aid of Jeff Bauman and helped rush him in a wheelchair to medical attention, a scene captured in an arresting AP photo. Bauman lost his legs.

— Michelle R. Smith — www.twitter.com/MRSmithAP

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PLAY BALL: The local baseball team has its traditional Patriots Day morning start time Monday. Instead of wearing "Red Sox" across the chests of their home uniforms, the players' jerseys read "Boston," just as they did for the tribute to bombing victims at Fenway Park last April 20.

The reigning world champs host the Baltimore Orioles with the first pitch at 11:05 a.m.

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PARTY ON: Once out of the starting town of Hopkinton, security appeared no stiffer than in past years. The traditional party atmosphere was in full force.

Loud music blared from a pair of tree-mounted speakers. Up the road, a string band played. Fans hauled coolers, beach chairs, strollers, even grills to the yards and driveways along the course.

The wall of sound that is Wellesley College was in full throat, with hundreds of students screaming loudly enough to be heard a quarter of a mile away.

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

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SIGNS OF TIMES: Fans in Ashland, 2 miles into the race, were showing their spirit with bright red T-shirts that read "Wicked Strong."

A woman wearing "survivor" on her bib and "4.15" — the date of the bombing last year — broke from a walk into a jog as she approached a crowd in Ashland, eliciting a cheer from the spectators.

More than one sign of support along the route read "Collier Strong," a tribute to the MIT police officer killed during the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers after the bombings.

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

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INSPIRATION: On Marathon Monday in 2013, Sabrina Dello Russo and four of her friends watched the Red Sox game, then walked over to the finish line as she did every year. Dello Russo and Roseann Sdoia talked about running the race the next time around.

Dello Russo is now following through by taking on her first marathon, and she's doing it for Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the bombing.

"She is my inspiration from Day 1 last year when I saw her in the ICU," said Dello Russo, 38, from South Boston. "Every run I do, she is in the back of my head, and she will be keeping me going today."

— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458

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GAME DAY FOR EMTS: The paramedics, EMTs and doctors responsible for the marathon's final 2 miles gathered for final instructions near the finish line in Copley Square shortly after 9:30 a.m.

There are roughly 140 emergency medical personnel assigned to the last 2 miles, a jump from around 110 last year, according to Boston EMS chief James Hooley.

He told the group to "concentrate on today."

"We almost don't have the luxury to think about the past," Hooley said. "This is game day."

In an average year, he said, 3 or 4 percent of the runners need medical treatment of some kind.

"We've got a good, long day ahead of us," Hooley said.

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

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KEEPING WATCH: More than 250 personnel from law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, state and federal agencies and the National Guard were monitoring the race from a coordination center set up at the Framingham headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Radios crackled throughout the sprawling underground facility as officials watched feeds from security cameras, television coverage and helicopters. A list of "significant events"— including start times, street shutdowns and reports of unauthorized vehicles — scrolled across large monitors.

— Amy Crawford — https://twitter.com/amymcrawf