-- BOSTON -- Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the Boston Marathon 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 to become the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion. She broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark. Buzunesh Deba finished second with an unofficial time of 2:19:59.
"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."
American Shalane Flanagan, who went to high school in nearby Marblehead, Mass., finished seventh after leading for more than half the race. She gambled by setting the early pace, but fell back on the Newton Hills about 21 miles into the race.
"It does mean a lot to me that my city was proud of me," Flanagan said. "I'm proud of how I ran. I don't wish it was easier. I wish I was better."
In the men's division, Meb Keflezighi added Boston to a résumé 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, Keflezighi won Boston in a personal-best 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. He held off Kenya's Wilson Chebet, who finished 11 seconds behind.
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.
Another American, Tatyana McFadden, celebrated her 25th birthday Monday by winning the women's wheelchair race for the second straight year. She was timed in in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 6 seconds.
McFadden was born in Russia and lived in an orphanage as a child before starring at the University of Illinois. She also won the 2013 NYC Marathon women's wheelchair race after taking the titles in Boston, London and Chicago last year.
Ernst van Dyk of South Africa won the men's wheelchair division for a record 10th time. The 41-year-old crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 36 seconds.
Van Dyk holds the record for most all-categories Boston Marathon wins. This was his first win at this race since 2010.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.