BOSTON (WWLP) – Hundreds of thousands of people came to Massachusetts for the 121st annual Boston Marathon, just four years after two bombs went off at the race, killing three people and injuring several hundred others. Since that tragic day, runners, fans and the entire community seem to embrace the race a little differently.
Alfrado Depina, who has volunteered at the marathon for more than 20 years, told 22News that he came to watch the race this year and cheer on runners at the finish line. “It’s amazing just to see how people are not afraid,” he said. “They’re here to root on these people; to show the world that, you know what, we can make a difference and we can learn from our past.”
Alan Howe with was just a block from where the bombs went off when he finished the race back in 2013. “It’s hard to explain in words,” he said, “but the feeling when you’re running and then even when you’re a spectator, listen to this crowd, it’s just amazing. It’s awesome because everybody’s cheering for the good of the person finishing at the finish line.”
The first bomb exploded just yards from the finish line but spectators say they still feel safe. Boston Police increased their staff this year with extra eyes on the ground and in the sky, and have included several checkpoints around the race and undercover officers along the race route.
“Having security checkpoints was helpful for ease of mind and seeing that there were so many barriers,” Lucie Parfitt explained. “Of course, there’s always paranoia when you’re in a large crowd, but I think we’re really safe here.”
Howe agreed, telling 22News that he felt safe coming to marathon despite his experience in 2013. “I just didn’t want to miss it,” He explained. “I didn’t want to not be a part of it. I felt like I was supporting it by being here and I needed to be here and I’ve kept coming back since.”