MARATHON WATCH: Bomb survivor throws out 1st pitch

The Associated Press Published:

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

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RETURN TO FENWAY: Boston Marathon survivor Marc Fucarile is back at Fenway Park four days after marrying his longtime fiancee there.

The 35-year-old native of Stoneham, Mass., threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Red Sox's traditional morning game on Patriots' Day.

Fucarile lost his right leg in last year's bombings and walked with a prosthetic and a cane to the mound before the game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Then he handed his cane to a companion, wound up and threw to former Red Sox outfielder Kevin Millar. The pitch reached Millar on a fly, going high into the left-handed batters' box.

On Thursday, Fucarile married Jennifer Regan at Fenway. They had delayed their wedding while he recovered from serious injuries. Fucarile was the last bombing victim to be discharged from Massachusetts General Hospital.

-- Howard Ulman -- https://twitter.com/hbulman

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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. He reports: "Mile 12: Word reaches us mid-pack runners of a sweet American victory, and a collective cheer goes up."

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

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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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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