BOSTON (WPRI) – On a sunny and mild Monday morning, 36,000 runners checked in and loaded onto big yellow school buses on Boston Common, bound for the starting line of the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.
One day before runners were scheduled to take their marks and make their first strides toward the finish line in Copley Square, the Boston Marathon’s chief race organizer stood on the steps of City Hall and set the mood for Monday’s race.
“After one year, we will run,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Tom Grilk said. “It’s time.”
Grilk, of course, was referring to the tragic events during the final hours of last year’s marathon, in which consecutive pressure cooker bombs detonated at the finish line. Three people were killed and hundreds more were injured.
- Full Coverage: Boston Marathon 2014
One year later, the city of Boston and the rest of the country have come together as one under the now-famous motto, “Boston Strong.” The thousands of runners were joined by hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators who lined the iconic 26.2-mile route.
For Barclay Richy of New York, crossing that finish line was seven years in the making. “I’ve wanted it for years and I couldn’t qualify. I gave it everything I had in the last stretch, the crowds were great,” he said.
He was one of the runners who weaved through eight communities and back to Boston, to finally cross the finish line.
Staying Strong: Eyewitness News Boston Marathon Coverage
Eyewitness News crews are already set up along the marathon route. Anchors Mike Montecalvo and Steve Nielsen, and reporters Susan Campbell and Jared Pliner will bring you the sights and sounds live from the Boston Marathon throughout the day.
Tune in to Eyewitness News for continuing coverage of the Boston Marathon, or catch up on Monday’s stories with the links below:
Final farewell to dynamic duo… This year’s Boston Marathon is the final farewell for two of the most recognizable faces in the race — father and son team Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and dad Dick has pushed his son across the finish line 30 times.
The winner is… Meb Keflezighi, 38, of San Diego. He won the men’s race, giving Boston its long-hoped-for American champion a year after the bombings. He looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile. After realizing he wouldn’t be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross.
Newport native runs for injured friend… Newport’s Marc Paquette ran the 26.2-mile race wearing a bib for his friend Heather Abbott, who is facing a long road to recovery.
Special meaning for volunteers… Volunteers can play a huge role for a huge undertaking like the Boston Marathon; they’re one thing that can “make or break” an event. Several volunteers at this year’s marathon told us it was important to them to be a part of this year’s race in particular.
Sunday evening dinner… Before they embark on a 26.2-mile journey, marathon runners need to make sure their bodies are prepared. Find out how race organizers and local leaders ensured this year’s runners were ready for this morning’s race.
Taking the train in… Marathon officials always urge spectators and runners to utilize public transportation on Marathon Monday, so Eyewitness News reporter Steve Nielsen adhered to the advice. He was live on Eyewitness News This Morning from an MBTA train on its way to downtown Boston.
Track your runners… With more than 30,000 runners in the field, keeping track of your athletic loved ones’ progress would be quite the task. That’s where the internet comes into play. You can track the runners here.
More Top Boston Marathon Headlines from WPRI.com
Meet Buster… After completing two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. military, he joined the Rhode Island State Police Department’s K-9 Unit. Now, after intense training, Buster is preparing for a special assignment. Click here to learn more.
By the numbers… Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s Boston Marathon, with more than 30,000 slated to run. How many paper cups do you think race organizers had to bring in? Click here to find out.
Social media security… A local company is looking to tap into the power of social media to improve public safety at large-scale events. Eyewitness News learned more about the project last week. Click here for the full story.
Susan Hogan’s journey… Training for the Boston Marathon is grueling. Just as Eyewitness News Problem Solver Susan Hogan. Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau joined Susan on her training runs to talk to her about her motivation for completing the marathon’s 26.2 miles. Click here to get a glimpse into Susan’s training.
Thousands of miles away… A local Army chaplain deployed in Afghanistan organized a marathon there as a way to honor the victims of last year’s bombings and bring “Boston Strong” to Bagram. We spoke with Chaplain Lukasz Willenberg on Marathon Monday.
First-time runner… Running 26.2 miles is no easy feat, especially when it’s your first time. But local mother Caithlin Lopes said she is more thandetermined to take it on.
New security measures: Leave your bags at home
Leading up to this year’s race, the BAA teamed up with state and local law enforcement officials to implement new safety strategies that would ensure the hundreds of thousands of marathon-goers will remain safe.
More than 450 officers have spent months training for Monday’s event, Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick said. Patrick said the officers studied, practiced and completed their responses to countless scenarios that they could see during the race. The goal, he said, is to be prepared for – quite literally – anything.
“Somebody said it may be the safest place in America,” Patrick said about the 26.2-mile marathon route. “But I will say that we tried to strike a balance between enhanced security and preserving the family feel of the day.”
Security: New marathon safety measures announced
In addition to the enhanced police presence and growing list of banned items, there will also be more than 100 cameras installed throughout the route. All of those cameras, security officials said, will feed into a command center, which will be closely monitored before, during and hours after the race.
Spectators and runners are urged to replace their backpacks, handbags and suitcases with clear, plastic bags that will be easier to monitor. Safety officials have also banned weapons, coolers, glass containers, flammable liquids, large blankets, face-covering masks or costumes, strollers, weight vests, liquid containers larger than one liter and personal hydration system products.
Boston Police said if you see something strange during the marathon, text ‘BOSTON’ to 69050 or call 911.
Runners preparing for marathon trek
Grilk joined Mayor Martin Walsh, four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers at a Sunday evening reception and dinner for runners in this year’s race. As they are every year, registered runners were treated to a pasta dinner as to load up on carbohydrates before embarking on an hours-long run.
- Related: Pre-pasta dinner boosts runners’ carbohydrates
- Susan Hogan: Track Susan’s marathon experience
Walsh said he is expecting Monday to be a “spectacular day” for the city of Boston.
“The city is not down,” Walsh said. “This city is very high and very up.”