This year’s Boston Marathon boasted nearly 36,000 participants, which is 9,000 more than the number of people who usually participate in the race. The bombing at last year’s marathon that left three people dead and more than 260 people wounded and temporarily crippled the city seemed to inspire many at this year’s race.

Among the highlights of the race were Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win the race since 1983 and posting a time of 2:08:37, the second fastest time by an American at the marathon. Meb was born in the African country of Eritrea and moved to the United States when he was 12. He became an amazing distance runner, winning silver at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in the men’s marathon. In 2009 he went on to become the first American to win the New York Marathon since 1982.

On the women’s side, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the marathon in a record time of 2:18:57. This is her second year in a row winning the marathon and her third time winning overall (she won in 2006).

The motto “Boston Strong” that has been adopted by so many this past year resonated greatly and that strength was apparent on race day, not only in the winners, but in the 36,000 participants who did not let the tragedy shake their spirit.