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Gazette Premium Content Married Boston Marathon bomb survivors finish race

Associated Press - Updated: April 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

BOSTON — Newlyweds who each lost a leg in last year's bombing completed the Boston Marathon together this year, riding handcycles for the 26.2-mile course.

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky were newly married last year when they went to the marathon finish line to watch the runners cross. They suffered severe injuries; each lost a left leg.

On Monday, they rode side by side in the handcycle race, completing the course from Hopkinton to Boston in about 2 hours and 14 minutes. Both smiled as they rolled across the finish line, holding hands.

A spokesman for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said the couple wanted to make sure they completed the race together.

— Denise Lavoie — https://twitter.com/deniselavoie_ap

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PRESIDENTIAL CONGRATS: President Barack Obama took to Twitter to congratulate Meb Keflezighi on his victory, as well as Shalane Flanagan, the top American woman, on her finish.

"Congrats to RunMeb and ShalaneFlanagan for making America proud! All of today's runners showed the world the meaning of BostonStrong," Obama wrote.

The tweet, which was sent from the official White House Twitter account, was signed "-bo." That's how the White House identifies tweets the president sends himself.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also opened his daily briefing by congratulating Keflezighi on becoming the first American man to win the marathon in 31 years. Carney said it was "quite an accomplishment and a great year to do it."

— Julie Pace — https://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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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. His updates as he nears the finish line:

Mile 19: "Just when I was about to complain about a blister, I passed a man with a carbon fiber blade. There are no words."

Mile 20: "Crowds so thick and insistent they barely let me stop to tweet. These people ARE truly Boston."

Mile 21: "Heartbreak Hill conquered. Five more tough miles to gut out. But the entire city is our cheering section."

Mile 22: "BostonCollege is to beer what WellesleyCollege is to spirit. True story."

Mile 23: "A blister on my toe is bleeding thru my shoe. Hurts but all I can think is how grateful I am to have a foot."

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

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FIRST AID: With nearly 36,000 runners attempting to run 26.2 miles, that's a lot of aches and pains. The 1,900 medical personnel have on hand 500 bags of ice, 800 cots, 4,000 adhesive bandages, 500 tubes of petroleum jelly, 25 EKG machines and 10,000 pairs of medical gloves.

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

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RUNNING TO REMEMBER: Teams of runners are taking part in the marathon in memory of each of the three people killed in the bombing, along with MIT Officer Sean Collier, who was slain days later during the manhunt for the suspects.

Team MR8 is running for the Martin Richard Charitable Foundation, which honors 8-year-old Martin's message of "No more hurting people — peace" by investing in education, athletics and community. A group from Boston University supports a scholarship fund that honors Lu Lingzi, a graduate student from China. And friends of Medford native Krystle Campbell are running to raise money for a memorial fund in her name.

There is also a contingent from the Boston Fire Department, many of them first responders during last year's attack, who are running in memory of firefighters Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, who died in a recent blaze in the Back Bay.

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BACK IN BOSTON: Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the bombing, stood in the stands just past the finish line with his fiancee, Erin Hurley, and fellow amputee Adrianne Haslet-Davis. They were applauding runners as they crossed.

Bauman was wearing his prosthetics and had the help of two crutches. The group sat a few feet away from Carlos Arredondo, who helped save his life.

It was the first time Bauman had returned to the finish line area since the attacks.

"It feels great" to be back, he said. "I feel very safe."

— Michelle R. Smith and Steve Peoples

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IN THEIR HONOR: Meb Keflezighi, who gave the Boston fans their first American men's champ in more than three decades, wore the names of four victims on his running bib. Written in marker in small, neat letters in each corner were Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean.

Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard were killed in the bombings during last year's race. MIT Officer Sean Collier was killed days later in the hunt for the bombing suspects.

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

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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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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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