The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 21, 2014

In show of defiance, thousands run Boston Marathon

BOSTON — (AP) — Under heavy security that included a battery of surveillance cameras and police officers on rooftops, nearly 36,000 runners hit the streets Monday in the first Boston Marathon since last year's deadly bombing, sending a powerful message of resilience.

In what some saw as altogether fitting, an American won the men's division for the first time in more than 30 years, dominating a field that included many athletes who were prevented from completing the race last year.

“I showed up, I'm back, and I am going to finish what I didn't finish last year,” said Mary Cunningham, 50, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who was stopped a mile short of the finish line by the explosions on April 15, 2013.

The two pressure-cooker bombs that went off near the end of the 26.2-mile course killed three people and wounded more than 260 in a hellish spectacle of torn limbs, smoke and broken glass.

This year, police were deployed in force along the route, with helicopters circling above and bomb-sniffing dogs checking trash cans.

A total of 35,755 athletes were registered to run, the second-largest field in its history, with many coming to show support for the city and its signature sporting event. “Boston Strong” — the unofficial slogan adopted after the terrorist attack — was everywhere.

“I think I'm going to start crying at the starting line, and I'm not sure I'll stop until I cross the finish line,” said Katie O'Donnell, a doctor at Children's Hospital who was stopped less than a mile from the end last year.

At 2:49 p.m., the time the bombs went off, spectators observed a moment of silence at the finish line. It was followed by some of the loudest cheers of the day as people whooped, clapped and rang cowbells.

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