Meet Meb Keflezighi.
The 38-year-old San Diego resident became the first American male to win the 118th Boston Marathon since 1983 on Monday.
Check out this incredible video of his finish:
It’s a big deal for an American to win the race—a Kenyan has won 19 times since 1991. And the timing couldn’t be better.
One year after two immigrants, angry at America, attacked the historic Boston Marathon,
Meb Keflezighi—an immigrant who’s embraced his love for America—wins.
We like how TIME’s Sean Gregory summarized Keflezighi’s victory:
The message this victory sends to the bombers is not subtle: Screw you. You squandered your opportunity, your chance at the American dream — which still exists, thank you. You blew it. This could have been you.
Keflezighi grew up in an Eritrean household without electricity, and at age 12, he came to the United States as a refugee from his country which was tangled in a war with Ethiopia. In 1998 he became a U.S. citizen.
This is the official runner’s bib he wore during the race. It had the names of the three people killed in last year’s tragic marathon and the name of a police officer from MIT who was allegedly killed by the same bombing suspect days later.
Keflezighi isn’t new to monumental victories. In 2009, he became the first American to win the New York City marathon in 27 years. He discovered running as a competitive sport here in America and ran cross country in grade school and at UCLA.
He also won the silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics, and finished in fourth place in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Keflezighi was joined by 36,000 other entrants running for a true American comeback…
People like Carlos Arredondo and Carlos Arredondo cheered on runners at the finish line. Arredondo helped save Bauman’s life after the first of the two bombs exploded at the finish line in 2013. Bauman lost his legs in the explosion.
Husband and wife Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky each lost a leg in 2013’s bombings. They rolled across the finish line this year.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 21, 2014
Tens of thousands of proud runners completed the 26.2 mile race and thousands more supported from the sidelines—reminding the world of America’s strength as a nation in good times and bad.
All photos courtesy of Newscom.