04/29/2014 01:43 pm ET | Updated Apr 29, 2014

Meb Keflezighi, First American To Win Boston Marathon In 31 Years, On Obama's Congratulatory Phone Call

Meb Keflezighi broke a 31-year streak of non-Americans winning the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014, after completing the 26-mile route in his personal-best time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.

The runner, who claims it took three decades for an American to win the marathon since they "don't train hard," recounted an exciting congratulatory phone call he received from President Obama shortly after his win.

"He just called to say he was coming from Air Force One, just wanted to call to say 'how proud I am'... that [my win] couldn't come at a better time, and job well done," Keflezighi told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski in an interview Tuesday.

"I was a little bit nervous," he said of receiving the President's phone call, "but it was a great honor."

In addition to being the first American to win since 1983, the 38-year-old long distance runner is the oldest competitor to land first place in the race since the 1930s.

"I just kept pushing and pushing," he recounted. "I used the crowd to my advantage. They were just chanting USA, USA. Basically, I was probably at Boylston Street, as soon as I took that left turn, I pressed myself and said 'God give me all the strength of the victims and also the crowd' to get me to the finish line, and I was happy to do that."

Watch Keflezigh's full HuffPost Live interview above.


  • Celeste Corcoran
    "I wrote still standing because the bombers hurt me—they took my legs—but I can still stand on them."
  • Sydney Corcoran
    "I think that everyone has scars, and we should embrace them. I’ve learned that we can overcome the obstacles that gave those scars to us."
  • Heather Abbott
    "I think that the experience of losing my leg has made me become more compassionate, so I may have less of a leg now, but I think my heart is bigger because of it."
  • Roseann Shoia
    She said: "My mom told me that this is what I said when I came out of my medically induced coma. We have deformities to our bodies, but I think it makes us stronger to be so open with it. I think it’s part of our therapy to get through what happened to us."
  • Lee Ann Yanni
    "I wrote 'Never Be Ashamed' on my leg because the one thing that was hardest for me to get over was how my leg was never going to look the same, and I’m learning to be more proud of it. I read a quote, and it said 'Never be ashamed of a scar. That it only means you are stronger than what tried to hurt you'."
  • Dave Fortier
    Dave Fortier's hearing was damaged by the bomb and he is running in this year's race. He said: “Once everything gets put back together, there will be a lot of people back. It’s become a huge part of our lives.”
  • Alyssa and Brittany Loring
    Alyssa said: "When really bad things happen, really good people step up. When Brittany was just starting her recovery, I would read her emails from friends and people from her past. They really helped brighten her day and help her maintain her positive attitude. Cards arrived at the hospital from children around the country who wanted to reach out, and their honesty and well wishes made us smile."
  • David Yepez
    "When the bombings occurred, immediately there were people from all around the world of all ages who supported in any way they could."
  • John Banse
    "I am especially grateful to my four kids, whom I believe are the reason that I am still around. My soul is so full of gratitude that there is no room in me for sadness, anger, or fear."
  • Elizabeth Bermingham
    What I’ve found as I’m running and as I’m out on the course, I find myself both thinking about last year’s marathon and then next year’s marathon, and trying to replace in my head the images of horror with images of triumph."
  • Michael Bourgault
    "Every day my wife and I try to move on with our lives...All we can do is move on to the next chapter of our lives together. We are also reminded of what we went through by the pain & suffering we still go through every day both physically and mentally."
  • Allison Elliot
    "My message needed to relate to the people of this great city. It was important for me to depict strength and power in the picture as well, but limit my face because the image is for all Bostonians."
  • Mikey Borgard
    "Jay and Barrett have spent the last year by my side, teaching me how to laugh again, how to accept what happened and move forward from it, and most importantly, how to forgive."