Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo wins second straight Boston Marathon, 7th 3-time winner

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON — Rita Jeptoo of Kenya successfully defended the Boston Marathon title she said she could not enjoy a year ago after the fatal bombings.

"It was very difficult to be happy. People were injured and children died," she had said of last year’s marathon. "If I’m going to win again, I hope I can be happier and to show people, like I was supposed to last year."

Jeptoo finished Monday’s race in a course-record 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. She becomes the seventh three-time Boston Marathon champion.

Jeptoo broke away from a group of five runners at the 23-mile mark. Buzunesh Deba finished second with an unofficial time of 2:19:59.

"I came here to support the people in Boston and show them that we are here together," Jeptoo said. "I decided to support them and show them we are here together."

American Shalane Flanagan finished seventh after leading for more than half the race. She took a gamble by setting the early pace. She ran her first mile in 5 minutes, 11 seconds, but fell back on the Newton Hills about 21 miles into the race.

"It does mean a lot to be that my city was proud of me," she said. "I’m proud of how I ran. I don’t wish I was it was easier. I wish I was better."