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CROSSING THE FINISH LINE

Just over a year from tragedy, runners from around the world bring joy back to the Boston Marathon

By Jackie Wattles
On April 21, 2014

  • Hundreds of thousands of spectators flock to Boston for the annual Boston Marathon. Due to the tragic events of last year’s race, security was subsequently increased for this years marathon. However, the race was completed without issue, and spectators were still given an ample view of the 35,000 runners. Security changes included banned backpacks, security checks and many areas were closed off from spectators. Jackie Wattles/The Daily Campus

BOSTON-Spectators flocked in the hundreds of thousands to Boston to watch one of the world's most prestigious marathons Monday for its 118th annual rendition. More than 35,000 athletes hailing from all 50 states and 76 foreign countries filled the streets and conquered the 26.2 mile course famous for its hilly landscape and streets lined with cheering fans.
But this was not just any Boston Marathon. One year ago, the race captured international attention after two bombs were detonated near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Eyes remained on Boston in the following days as the suspects - brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev - evaded arrest in a highly publicized police chase.
Tamerlan died in the climatic end of the chase, but Dzhokar remains in custody and faces more than 30 criminal charges. If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty.
One year later, the marathon was back in a big way.
"We're taking back our race today. We're taking back the finish line," race director Dave McGillivray said at the starting line.
Not only in strong numbers, he said, but touting emblems of strength. Banners and t-shirts read "Boston Strong;" the finish line was flanked by memorials and tributes for the victims and medical respondents and police.
The winner of the 2014 marathon was - for the first time since 1985 - an American: Meb Keflezighi, 39, won the men's division with an official time of 2:08:37.
"It was my dream to win Boston and to make it just like the Red Sox did and do the same thing for the people," Keflezighi said at the press conference after the race.
For his first place finish, Keflezighi took home $150,000. The winner of the women's division - Catherine Nderebra of Kenya - was awarded the same amount. Ndrebra won the women's division last year as well and returned to Boston undeterred by last year's tragedy.
Several former champions returned to the storied course as well - including Joan Benoit Samuelson (1979, 1983), Gelindo Bordin (1990) and Connecticut-native Amby Burfoot (1968).
The defiant spirit was not the only evidence of last year's tragedy. The event had distinctively stricter security. Backpacks were banned, security checks and barricades protected the finish, and more than 3,500 police officers - some undercover, according to a City of Boston press release - patrolled all 26.2 miles of the course.
But the beefed up security didn't turn off spectators - estimates reached as high as 1 million, which is double the typical crowd, according to a report by the New York Times.
 


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