The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

April 21, 2014

Festivities, tight security before race

BOSTON — In many ways, it felt like any other pre-marathon Sunday in Boston.

Families celebrated Easter, diners enjoyed the spring weather at sidewalk cafes, and runners — easily identified by their trim builds and colorful jackets — picked up last-minute supplies for what will be the second-largest field in the race’s history.

But even as runners focused on the exhilaration of crossing the finish line, the festive atmosphere was inevitably tinged with sorrow, as runners, family members and spectators recalled the double bombings at last year’s race that killed three people and injured 260.

Marathon runners were blessed at an emotional church service that celebrated Easter and remembered the victims, while heightened security measures, including bag checks, were in place at marathon events.

“It’s different, coming back,” said Gisele Goldstein, 55, of Germantown, Tenn., who planned to run her 12th Boston Marathon this year. “It’s not just me—there’s a sadness.”

Her friend Nanette Farris, 46, of Memphis, added that people were surprised she wanted to return for her second Boston Marathon. The doubters were all non-runners, however—the runners she knew felt differently.

“If you’re a runner, you want to show them—no one’s going to take that away from us,” Farris said. “Once this occurred, everyone wanted to qualify for Boston.”

Still, there have been tense moments — such as when an alarm went off on Friday, during the Runners’ Expo at the Hynes Convention Center. People were spooked, Goldstein said, even though it turned out to have been a test.

Ricardo Corral, 53, of New York, who planned to race in the hand-cycle division of the wheelchair race on Monday—his eighth marathon—said he was reassured by the heightened security.

“We are not nervous,” he said. “We know the police will be here to protect people.”

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