Personal victories abound at Boston Marathon


Runners approach the finish line in the rain during the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 20, 2015, in Boston.

Charles Krupa/AP

Under heightened security, around a million people gathered Monday for this year's Boston Marathon. With freezing temperatures and pounding rain, Monday's race conditions were far from ideal, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler. But not even the weather could dampen the spirit of a city where, two years ago after the Boston Marathon bombing, few ever thought their cherished event would ever be the same.

For Caroline Rotich from Kenya, winning the Boston Marathon was a dream come true, as it was for newly engaged Amy Sennett, who crossed the finish line with her boyfriend and received a marriage proposal, with a ring delivered by the mayor.

"I'm the luckiest woman in the world; I'm so happy," Sennett said.

"I was pretty nervous. I think I blew it in the first half, but I think it all worked out well," fiancé Dan Koh said.

Runner Jeff Glaser was nervous too -- nervous about telling his wife he lost his wedding band on the 23rd mile.

"As they were running they saw a ring that was on the course and they figured that someone must have lost it," John Anderson said.

Boston Marathon bombing amputee makes improba... 02:27

A fellow marathoner recovered the ring along the route, and Glaser reunited with the keepsake in the medical tent after the race.

For many runners, just crossing the finish line was a personal victory.

Bill Iffrig was only 20 feet from the finish line in 2013, knocked to his feet by the blast. The 80-year-old returned to run in the race for the first time since the attack.

A race official assists Bill Iffrig, 78, of Lake Stevens, Washington, as Iffrig lies on the ground after the first explosion on Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh

For Lelisa Desisa, winning this year's race allowed him to reclaim something he gave up. Desisa won the marathon two years ago. In the aftermath of the bombing, he donated his medal to the city of Boston as a gesture of support. This time, he said the win is for him.

Nowhere is this more true than for Rebekah Gregory, whose amputated leg acts as a daily reminder of what happened here.

"I took my life back today... I'm stronger because of this and this was the hardest thing that I think I've had to do," she said.

Gregory completed the last three miles of the race with her new prosthetic limb, a symbolic end to a journey she never thought she'd finish.

"Whatever is going on in your life just don't give up because the finish line is a great place to be," Gregory said.