Boston Marathoners Take to Streets – Voice of America

Amid intense security, crowds turned out Monday for the Boston Marathon, which was rocked by terrorist bombs two years ago.

Some 30,000 runners and others registered for event, which kicked off in mid-morning. Tens of thousands of spectators are cheering them on along the streets of this northeastern Massachusetts city, home to the world’s oldest annual marathon.  

“For us, the core principle is the Boston Marathon is an international athletic event focused on competition and excellence,” Tom Grilk, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, told the Associated Press last week. “We start there, every time. Including last year,” he said.

Last year’s event was the first since the attack. On April 15, 2013, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the Boylston Street finish line just as some runners were completing the race. The explosions, at 2:49 p.m. local time, killed three people and injured 264.

Several days after the event, elder brother Tamerlan, 26,  was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar, then 19, was captured in a Boston suburb after an intensive manhunt. Earlier this month, a jury found him guilty on all of 30 charges related to the bombings. On Tuesday, he’s scheduled to return to federal court for the next phase of the trial, in which prosecutors will seek the death penalty.  

“What happened in 2013 was the closest and perhaps most poignant part of our history, but part of the history,” race organizer Grilk said. “The history going forward would be written by the people who come and run and watch and participate in all the ways that people do.”

Monday’s field included Rebekah (DiMartino) Gregory, whose left leg had to be amputated after her injuries. She was running the marathon on a new prosthetic leg, ESPN reported.

Security has been beefed up. Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans told The Boston Globe last week it included enhanced checkpoints and bomb detection dogs throughout the 26.2-mile route. Backpacks, shoulder bags and coolers were subjected to searches. 

Law enforcement also was taking extra precautions at and near Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Its traditional race-day morning game, this year against the Baltimore Orioles, started at 11:05 a.m. local time.

At last year’s marathon, Meb Keflezighi became the first American man since 1983 to win. Africans have dominated the men’s division in recent years.

Race conditions are less than optimal, with rain, wind and chilly temperatures of roughly 10 degrees Celsius or 50 Fahrenheit.