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MARATHON WATCH: Americans seek win to end drought

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Mobility-impared runners David Abel, left, Juli Windsor, and Scott Rigsby compete in the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Mobility-impared runners David Abel, left, Juli Windsor, and Scott Rigsby compete in the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Father and son Boston Marathon race team Dick Hoyt, right, and his son Rick Hoyt walk across the start line as they warm up before they run the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Mobility-impaired runners gather at the start line for a moment of silence before the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

A military policeman stands near the start line of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Buses carrying runners arrive at sunrise in Hopkinton, Mass., for the start of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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A look at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

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AMERICAN DROUGHT: A huge cheer went up when Shalane Flanagan, of Marblehead, Mass., was introduced before the elite women started their race.

It’s been nearly 30 years since an American woman won. That came in 1985 when Michigan’s Lisa Larsen Weidenbach ran uncontested to capture the title in 2:34:06.

For the men, it’s been a longer drought: Massachusetts’ own Greg Meyer broke the tape in 1983 in a time of 2:09.

Since 1991, a runner from Kenya has won the men’s race 19 times. The women’s side has been more diverse. Since 1991, 10 Kenyan runners have captured the title, followed by Ethiopia with five and Russia with four.

— Rik Stevens — https://twitter.com/RikStevensAP

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FATHER-SON FINALE: Dick and Rick Hoyt are among the most recognizable faces at the Boston Marathon. Rick has cerebral palsy and his father, Dick, pushes him along the course in a wheelchair every year. They’ve completed Boston 30 times.

They’re so beloved that there’s a statue in their honor in Hopkinton, where the race starts. They didn’t get to finish last year because of the bombing. This will be their last time doing the marathon together — Dick is 74 — though Rick plans to continue with someone else pushing him.

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SAFE RETURNS: John Stuart, 57, has run Boston 19 times and lives about three blocks from the finish line. He had a 16-race streak going and planned to run this year until he got a bug and was told not to by his doctor Friday.

Instead, he’s scratching something off his bucket list, watching the elite runners cross the finish line for the first time and cheering on friends.

Stuart was running the race last year for the BAA team and finished about half an hour before the explosions. His wife, daughter and son were still in the finish line area when the bombs went off. His wife, Kathy, was knocked down. But none were seriously hurt.

They’re sitting just a few feet away from the place where they watched last year. Kathy says she figures they were lucky in that spot last year, so why not come back?

A bomb-sniffing police dog earlier checked his family’s chairs and the bags of people sitting nearby.

“It’s sad that it’s come to this,” Kathy said. “You can’t just walk and go to a race. It costs the city a whole lot of money. I’d rather have it be this way: safe.”

— Michelle R. Smith — www.twitter.com/MRSmithAP

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ALL THE WAY BACK: Among the returning runners is 58-year-old Carol Downing, of Monkton, Md. Daughters Erika Brannock and Nicole Gross were badly hurt last year as they waited for her to finish. Downing was stopped about a half-mile from the end of the race.

Both daughters will be in Boston this year to see their mom run, but they’re still debating whether they will return to the finish line.

“I’m trying not to think about last year and just looking forward to getting to the finish line and seeing my family,” Downing said. “This time having a better ending.”

— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458

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AND WE’RE OFF: The 118th Boston Marathon has begun. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick set off the first entrants in the mobility impaired division, who crossed the starting line at 8:50 a.m.

Minutes earlier, Hopkinton fell silent as a moment of remembrance was held. The only sounds on the streets of Hopkinton were the soft drone of helicopters circling overhead.

The wheelchair division starts at 9:17. Then the handcycles begin at 9:22, and the elite women at 9:32.

The elite men and the first wave of amateur runners go at 10. There are four waves in total, the last starting at 11:25.

— Bob Salsberg

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CHANNEL GUIDE: National television coverage of the Boston Marathon will have an expanded reach but still won’t be available to many viewers.

The race is broadcast on the Universal Sports network outside New England. It is offering a free preview to all customers of cable and satellite services that offer the channel, which is generally carried only on sports tiers. But nearly half the country’s homes with televisions won’t be able to watch the marathon because Universal Sports doesn’t have deals with big providers such as Comcast and Cablevision.

Dean Walker, the network’s senior vice president for production, said this month that Universal Sports, as a sports channel, would focus its coverage on the competition but celebrate the resilience of the city.

“This race will go on forever, and we want to show the entire nation that, despite what anybody tried to do, it is now stronger and more determined,” he said.

— Rachel Cohen — https://twitter.com/rachelcohenap

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READY TO RUN: Thousands of runners are gathering at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, one year after a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

State and local police officers were everywhere Monday morning, even on the rooftops of

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