Photo Essay

  • Meb Keflezighi of the US, crosses the finish line to win the Men's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon in Boston, Mass. on April 21, 2014 .
  • Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, breaks the tape to win the women's division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston.
  • People cheer as American Meb Keflezighi wins the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Runners compete near the start of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass.
  • Susana Coro, of Equador, cheers with her family as buses leave Boston for the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass., for the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.
  • Rita Jeptoo, Shalane Flanagan, Yeshi Esayias, Buzunesh Deba, Mare Dibaba, and Jemima Jelagat Sumgong run shortly after the start in the women's division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass.
  • A Military Police officer stands guard prior to the start of the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Hopkington, Mass.
  • Till T. Teuber of Hamburg, Germany, prepares himself before the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston.
  • Kevin Brown, of Brockton, Mass., gets an early seat near the finish line to watch the running of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston.
  • A couple huddles while waiting to load a bus to take them to the start of the Boston Marathon in the Boston Commons on April 21, 2014.
  • A runner tucks gel packets into his socks while getting ready to run the Boston Marathon in the Boston Commons on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Mass.
  • BOSTON, MA - APRIL 20:  A Boston police officer stands guard near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. This year's marathon will be held tomorrow, Monday, April 21; last year two pressure cooker bombs were detonated near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
  • Trent Morrow of Sydney, Australia, also know as â"Marathon Man" laughs as Andrea Olivo of Venezuela tugs on his cape as she has her photo made ahead of Monday's 118th Boston Marathon, on April 20, 2014, in Boston.
  • Runners come down Boylston Street during the Boston Athletic Association's 5K race in Boston, Mass. on April 19, 2014.
  • Ron McCracken of Dallas pays his respects at a makeshift memorial honoring to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings ahead of Monday's 118th Boston Marathon, on April 20, 2014, in Boston.
  • Chiara Ferrante, of Milton, Mass., holds a banner on the field at Fenway Park during ceremonies to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles in Boston, on  April 20, 2014.
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Runners show they're Boston Strong

Updated

Bostonians call it “Marathon Monday,” an annual event held on Patriots Day when state residents commemorate the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Runners call it a day of determination, of grit, a demonstration of the human spirit.

American Meb Keflezighi and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo won the laurel wreaths for their respective races. South African  Ernst Van Dyk won the men’s wheelchair race, and Russian-born Tatyana McFadden the women’s.

But to many, the heart of the race is about the underdogs, the recreational runners. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual 26.2-mile race. Race officials increased the field size to balance the influx and traditional combination of qualifiers and charity runners, as well as accommodating athletes who were prevented from crossing the finish line in 2013.

VIDEO: ‘The world will return to run harder than ever’

Two blasts that erupted near the finish line last year on April 15 killed Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu, and injured more than 260 people. The two bombing suspects also allegedly killed Sean Collier, a police officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But, as the victims and survivors of last year’s tragedy have demonstrated throughout the past year, Bostonians are strong and resilient. They are “Boston Strong,” a community of camaraderie.

“‘Boston Strong,’ a simple phrase with a not-so-simple meaning, became our uniting call. It symbolizes our communal determination to spread compassion, generosity, unity, and pride,” Patrick Downes, who lost his leg when one of the bombs exploded at the finish line, said last week during the marathon memorial in Boston.

In the days following the bombings, President Barack Obama encouraged the city’s residents to carry on and continue racing.

“And this time next year, on the third Monday in April,” he added, “the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it.”

And that, they did.