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Boston Marathon Champ Inspires Hopkinton Students

HOPKINTON (CBS) - Perseverance pays. That's the message 2014 Boston Marathon men's champion Meb Keflezighi brought to some Hopkinton students today. Meb is the first American man to win Boston since 1983. Born in war torn East Africa he and his family came to this country as refugees. An American now, Meb will defend his Marathon title next month, but today his visit to Hopkinton Middle School was all about inspiration.

The kids greeted him like a rock star, high fives and big cheers all around. Keflezighi electrified Boston last year, becoming the first American man to win in 31 years. "The slogan was Boston Strong. I'm going to give Meb strong, give the best out of myself," he told the students.

And he encouraged them to do the same. "Keep up the great work and be disciplined and never, ever give up. Success doesn't happen overnight, it doesn't happen immediately, but it does happen eventually," he says.

The message got through loud and clear. "I thought it was really cool. I think he taught us a lot about just follow our dreams," says sixth grader Teddy Henneberry. "He really showed passion and that he can do whatever he wants to do," added Emma Nelson.

"For me, to be able to pull out a victory was dream come true," says Keflezighi. And he did it just a couple of weeks shy of his 39th birthday. Next month, he'll take his mark again. "I will give it my best. Training has been good and consistent and that's what you want. And may the best man and woman win, and I hope to be the one," he says.

In the town where it all begins, that determination means a lot. "I thought it was very inspiring for Meb to just come to our little town," says Danny Andrews, a sixth grader. "I like running, too. And someday I might run the Marathon," adds Lela Hardin.

Meb came to the Hopkinton Middle School as part of their special curriculum called "Desire to Inspire" where they use the Marathon as a teaching tool. For example science classes look at the effect of endurance training on the body, and history classes study the original marathon.

WBZ-TV will once again cover the Boston Marathon from start to finish on April 20th.

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