We run together: Boston Marathon '14
April 21, 2014, a year after the infamous Boston Marathon bombing, marathoners took to the streets of Boston to prove to the world that their city would not be afraid. Amanda Folsom/Contributing
By AMANDA FOLSOM
The 118th Boston Marathon started at 9:32 a.m. Monday morning, when the women elites took off from the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass. With runners from around the world, everyone had their own reasons for running the 2014 race in hopes of crossing the finish line on Boylston. Although they all had different reasons as to why they were running, there was one thing that they could all agree on: None of them did it alone.
When American Meb Keflezighi tore through the finish line with a time of 2:08:37, he became the first American to win the title in 31 years. In spite of last year's tragedies, many said they felt that it was a display of resilience and a victory of unity. The crowd stood together as they chanted "USA" with their voices echoing through the city's streets. Karl Duerk, a first time Boston Marathon runner and 36-year-old from Omaha, Neb., noticed a big difference with Boston compared to other marathons he has ran in the past.
"The difference, I would say, is the people here, especially coming down Boylston Street. It was very emotional with the crowds and the cheers of everyone out here taking back their city. For them to thank us for being here, I felt like it should have been the other way around," Duerk said. Duerk is planning on running the marathon again next year.
"It's the people that make Boston strong," he said.
Spectators lined the streets of Boston for 26.2 miles cheering on and supporting every runner to the finish line. No matter who the runner or what the time, there was an applause for every last one. Thirty one-year-old runner Nathan Mercurio traveled all the way from Australia to participate in his first-time Boston Marathon. He couldn't agree with Duerk more when asked what his favorite part was.
"It was the crowd. I couldn't believe from start to finish there were crowds! Boston matters because these are people coming from a community that is so supportive," Mercurio said.
Since last year's events, many were uncertain how this year's security procedures were going to go. Blocks were sealed off and Boston police lined the sidewalks as the runners continued on their journey. Security was very tight with authorities working hard to keep the event as safe as possible.
"There was a stronger sense of comradery this year, I think we worried that security might play too big a part, but it was so well pulled back, it was evident that it was in place, but it wasn't in your face and it was very nicely done. Everyone just came together," 54-year-old runner from Bronx, New York, Kevin Shelton-Smith, said. This was Shelton-Smith's fourth time participating in the Marathon.
Some ran with hopes of winning, while others ran in support of family and friends, like Dawn Smith who chose to run on her birthday. Smith, a first time Boston Marathon runner from the state of Oregon, couldn't think of anything else she'd rather be doing for her 40th.
"The spectators of Boston were just amazing, and having spectators alongside of you throughout the entire thing, just pulls you along and is so motivating," Smith said. "It was an awesome way to spend my birthday."
Smith was accompanied by family and close friends after she came through the finish line Monday afternoon. "If there's one reason why Boston matters: It's because of its people and resilience."
At the end of the race, runners crossed the finish line and continued down Boylston eventually getting to Boston Common where they reunited with their friends and families. The Boston Athletic Association had hundreds of volunteers equipped with water and food, to help the runners rejuvenate after the 26.2-mile race. They were all proudly dressed in their B.A.A. blue and yellow Adidas windbreakers, ready to help out. This was Molly Tabernik and her mother Debbie's second year volunteering for the association.
"It's so inspiring to see these people who've just run 26.2 miles walk another half mile down here with a smile still on their faces, just to thank you for all the work you're doing. It really shows you how great humanity can be," Molly said.
Molly and Debbie Tabernik plan on volunteering for the event again next year, due to the great feeling of being able to help their fellow citizens in such a great cause that brings everyone together. Once again while asked what makes Boston strong, they too responded with, "the people". When you run Boston, you don't do it alone.
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