Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 12: On the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, an American wins the race for the first time in 31 years. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Meb Keflezighi didn’t even compete in the 2013 Boston Marathon. He was just a spectator. But after witnessing the tragedy of the bombings from the stands, he vowed to take part in the next race in Boston.

In 2014, he was a champion. Keflezighi became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, and at 38 years old, he was the oldest to finish first in 83 years.

“Boston strong, America strong,” Keflezighi said after winning the race. “To come back from what was a disaster to a patriotic day.”

Keflezighi nearly competed in the 2013 race, but he pulled out about a week before because on an injury. Although he didn’t run, being at the marathon was an emotional experience, as it was for many who witnessed the explosions at the finish line.

“We started crying because we knew how many people were there,” Keflezighi said.

Before running in the Boston Marathon, Keflezighi, an immigrant from Eritrea, won a silver medal for the United States in the 2004 Athens Olympics and also finished first in the 2009 New York City Marathon. But he had never won in Boston, finishing fifth in 2010.

With talented Kenyan racer Wilson Chebet in a field of over 35,000 runners, it would be an uphill battle for Keflezighi. After coming in 23rd place on November 2013 in New York, it appeared that Keflezighi might not have a shot to win in Boston. His personal-best time of 2:09:08 was viewed as a figure that would never be something Keflizighi could top.

“Most people thought my career was done,” Keflezighi said. “But you can’t test the heart.”

With a bit of help from the hills and terrain in the early portion of the race, Keflezighi, who had the names of the victims from the 2013 tragedy written on his race bib, built up a lead over the rest of the pack. The spectators, who were in a extra festive mood despite an increased police and security presence, cheered on Keflezighi as he built out a one-minute lead over Chebet between the 15- and 19-mile marks.

“The crowd was phenomenal,” Keflezighi said. “I used them to propel me forward.”

As he reached closer to the end of the race, however, Keflezighi saw his once large-lead shrink. Chebet had cut the deficit from 40 seconds to just 12. But just when it appeared the American might not have anything left in the tank, during the final stretch beginning at Kenmore Square, Keflezighi regained the momentum he lost in Brookline and started to pull away from Chebet. With a solid lead in hand, Keflezighi even looked back a few times to see where his nearest opponent was.

“Looking back is not a bad thing,” Keflezighi said. “It can save you a win.”

Keflezighi held off Chebet as he turned down the final stretch on Boylston Street. As a raucous crowd cheered him on near the finish line, Keflezighi won the race with a career-best time of 2:08:37.

Seeing the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 inspired Keflezighi to win a championship of his own.

“It was my dream to win just like the Red Sox did, and try to do the same thing for the people,” Keflezighi said.

Even though he had won many races before, this win in Boston was a “dream come true” for Kelezighi. A victory that many said he couldn’t win felt sweet. But what was extra special for Keflizighi was winning the marathon for the citizens of Boston.

“This is beyond running,” Keflezighi said. “I was going to give everything I had for the people. ‘€œThe bomb happened, and every day since, I said I want to come back and win it. … That night I said to myself how wonderful would it be to come back and win this for Boston.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 13: Pete Frates inspires ice bucket challenge phenomenon. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Two years ago, Pete Frates found out he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig‘s disease. The former Boston College baseball captain and Beverly native had to deal with the reality that his voice was gone and his mobility would be restricted.

But even with his body working against him, Frates helped create a viral campaign in 2014 along with friend and fellow ALS patient Patrick Quinn that raised awareness and millions of dollars for research for the debilitating illness.

The ice bucket challenge campaign started with videos of Frates’ friends and family dumping ice water on their heads, then challenging other people to do the same within 24 hours or make a donation to ALS research.

The challenge spread like wildfire by the end of July, and thousands of people shared their own ice bucket challenge videos through social media. Local teams and athletes got into the act, including challenges from multiple Bruins players and a video from the entire Red Sox front office. Tweets, retweets and Facebook shares allowed the challenge to go national. Famous personalities across the country like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and former president George W. Bush, among others, dumped ice water on their heads for the cause.

He couldn’t play baseball anymore, but Frates brought a strong mentality from his playing days to this campaign.

“As a jock and locker-room guy, Pete lived by the code, ‘Go big or go home,’ ” his father, John Frates, said. “But when the videos started jumping out of the immediate circle of family and friends, to pro athletes like the Bruins, Patriots and his high-profile BC classmates — Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Brian Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning — it started to get crazy. The sheer power of association and calling out three or more to accept the challenge, it was the perfect formula to go viral.”

Mike Gambino, Frates’ coach at BC, said despite the fact some people lost sight of the point of the ice bucket challenge, the heart and purpose of it all still remained the same — ending ALS.

“Pete’s dad, John, probably summed it up better than I could,” Gambino said. “We were having dinner last week and he said, ‘For two years we’ve been doing everything we can to try to raise awareness. Who knew that all we needed was a bucket of ice.’ The ice bucket challenge is awesome, and the money that it’s raising for ALS research, all over the country, is amazing. The thing that we all have to remember is that the ice bucket challenge wasn’t the point. The point is finding a cure for ALS, getting more funding and more research going to this disease.”

It was reported that more than $7 million was raised to multiple ALS associations within just two weeks of the challenge going viral. Without the courage and perseverance of Frates, this wouldn’t have been possible.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that Pete has been able to bring this kind of energy and enthusiasm to the fight against ALS,” said Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who knew Frates from their time together at BC. “The ice bucket challenge has been truly amazing. What most people don’t know is Pete has worked even harder in the two years prior to create attention and increase efforts to fight this terrible disease.”

The campaign raised over $110 million for ALS research by the end of the year. Many, including New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, campaigned for Frates to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He did not win that title, but SI did name him an Inspiration of the Year. The accolades continued to roll in for Frates, as he was also named to CNN’s list of 11 Extraordinary People of 2014.

On Thanksgiving, Frates said in an email to Lupica that he finally understood his purpose in the world.

“I will not be satisfied until we see this thing through,” Frates said. “Incredibly thankful. Restored faith in God. I know why I am here.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Bruins Play-by-Play announcer breaks down the Bruins season so far.

[0:01:45] ... to build a third line it would gather are Smart player like Chris Kelly. To that matters that are very effective for life or when you change their circumstance. And you line them up against top ...
[0:04:00] ... great you immediately Paul's Q well one of the outsiders and the National Hockey League when he got back. Support on either side so it's it's one of those. They're just the facts and again it's not ...
[0:04:54] ... like. Do you think that they need to go get a pick Chris Stewart is the guy who most. Who physically resembles those two guys the most is it that simple as going out getting a ...
[0:05:48] ... We're not a single day in the glided through and unfortunately. For Chris Stewart who stole the player of tremendous potential. Stewart has a reputation of colliding for a long period to be some sort of ...






Bruins Play-by-Play announcer breaks down the Bruins season so far.

[0:01:45] ... to build a third line it would gather are Smart player like Chris Kelly. To that matters that are very effective for life or when you change their circumstance. And you line them up against top ...
[0:04:00] ... great you immediately Paul's Q well one of the outsiders and the National Hockey League when he got back. Support on either side so it's it's one of those. They're just the facts and again it's not ...
[0:04:54] ... like. Do you think that they need to go get a pick Chris Stewart is the guy who most. Who physically resembles those two guys the most is it that simple as going out getting a ...
[0:05:48] ... We're not a single day in the glided through and unfortunately. For Chris Stewart who stole the player of tremendous potential. Stewart has a reputation of colliding for a long period to be some sort of ...






For each of the 4 major sports teams, we give our naughty and nice lists.

[0:05:46] ... is Nadia I suppose. And the nice is you know what haters Chris Kelly because he put up with the summer of everybody talking trash about him and are willing killing Peter surely because he overpaid ...
[0:06:23] ... the Bruins the reason it isn't a leadership problem. Is because of Chris Kelly he's as vocal as it gets at points this season when guys have been out. Kelly's been the only person who has appeared to have polls so Chris Kelly you have been nice in its. You're good man you know if I if uncle Julian I look at that roll man I see may be somebody that I might want to be you know you use as my spokesperson. The play out it's a Chris Kelly my total up analysts they gave him an a after he was on the team for what like three months. These trade ...
[0:10:35] ... he was taken guys like. Andrew Luck and right and Phillips and Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers could turn them into a jets quarterback. Can now this is a defense that he is transformed to a point where they're ...
[0:12:01] ... on Alec allows silly was that they were saying they should trade Tom Brady should bench tambourine stark drop below. Agree this was a part of that conversation as well like that the narrative was like. ...






For each of the 4 major sports teams, we give our naughty and nice lists.

[0:05:46] ... is Nadia I suppose. And the nice is you know what haters Chris Kelly because he put up with the summer of everybody talking trash about him and are willing killing Peter surely because he overpaid ...
[0:06:23] ... the Bruins the reason it isn't a leadership problem. Is because of Chris Kelly he's as vocal as it gets at points this season when guys have been out. Kelly's been the only person who has appeared to have polls so Chris Kelly you have been nice in its. You're good man you know if I if uncle Julian I look at that roll man I see may be somebody that I might want to be you know you use as my spokesperson. The play out it's a Chris Kelly my total up analysts they gave him an a after he was on the team for what like three months. These trade ...
[0:10:35] ... he was taken guys like. Andrew Luck and right and Phillips and Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers could turn them into a jets quarterback. Can now this is a defense that he is transformed to a point where they're ...
[0:12:01] ... on Alec allows silly was that they were saying they should trade Tom Brady should bench tambourine stark drop below. Agree this was a part of that conversation as well like that the narrative was like. ...






Jerry and DJ are out to prove that this Christmas classic is one of the creepiest songs of all-time

[0:02:19] ... this music like I just want it that has served as a cautionary tale to women out there. If you find yourself tonight. Which he mart the new drinks you'll ever in danger yes. Let's go ...
[0:02:54] ... the last great stuff back to Jack Edwards duke took time yeah Christmas Day to join us. Tonight we got out Merry Christmas to all of it's all. Good night. Okay. ...




Jerry and DJ are out to prove that this Christmas classic is one of the creepiest songs of all-time

[0:02:19] ... this music like I just want it that has served as a cautionary tale to women out there. If you find yourself tonight. Which he mart the new drinks you'll ever in danger yes. Let's go ...
[0:02:54] ... the last great stuff back to Jack Edwards duke took time yeah Christmas Day to join us. Tonight we got out Merry Christmas to all of it's all. Good night. Okay. ...




A Christmas eve edition of "The Price is Right," Chris Price of WEEI.com makes some predictions for the Patriots Sunday afternoon tilt against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

[0:01:09] ... Chris it's prediction time price is right that's what we do. Will Tom Brady play more than a half in this football game on Sunday. I think you're gonna play how in in the first series ...
[0:01:50] ... the first two plus. All right Chris you and I both know Bill Belichick loves to use these games at the end of the season to. Let's say pull a trek out of his slave. And he did so with the drug Doug Flutie drop kick and I think it was the 2005. Season finale. My question to you is. Bill Belichick does he have a gimmick up his sleeve for Sunday that we did not see coming and what will it pay. What ...
[0:07:45] ... in paradise is over overstating it but I don't think Josh McDaniels Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were all on the same page. Do you get that sense that there is some tension. In the way the patriots are going about their offensive game plan week to week as we go into the policies and. I think there's contention but I think at the same time I think it's the same level of tension that we saw in your. Between Tom Brady and bill O'Brien. It when things don't necessarily go their way there's a level frustration. I hate being too in you know ...
[0:09:07] ... some tension there but I don't think it's major concern for. Will Vince Wilfork reaches. Is needed snouts to get his one point five million dollar bonus next week. Yeah yet you will I think that ...






Andy Brickley joined the show to talk about the Bruins, who are in the midst of a 3-game winning streak. The team clearly has deficiencies and may need to make a few moves before the deadline.

[0:05:29] ... this year but when you play that they report years in the Electoral College all that trouble I can understand the frustration that it creaky yet but. So concerned about him got by your. What it ...
[0:06:04] ... months of the season despite the consistency anyway. They haven't really replaced Jarome Iginla and I think you know going forward that's you know I think where this team needs to focus on is. Getting that ...
[0:07:40] ... looking at the I certainly thought they chair of the division title Bob Barker old temple real good teams. Which no ought to broker a thought it was at about Caroline not the look good players ...
[0:10:51] ... how he is managing this roster I wanna talk. Very quickly about Zdeno Chara and how cloned or manage him he's 37. He's obviously coming off in the injury missed. Mop and hamper so to start ...