Families, children, college rowdies and fans alike swarmed the streets of Boston on Monday, cheering relentlessly for the sea of 36,000 people that chugged their way through eight towns and 26 miles to complete the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Spectators held their Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffees in the 50-degree Fahrenheit weather and waved their posters as they screamed “This is our f*cking marathon!” But most notably, they clutched their bags with bright yellow “INSPECTED” bands hanging off of them.
A police officer was placed every 20 feet along the barricades on both sides of the street across the entire 26.2-mile race course. However, the officers were friendly and engaging, and all of the people watching had the time of their lives — proving that this year’s intensified security measures were no match for the high spirits of Bostonians watching and running in the race.
In an almost too-timely-to-be-true occurrence, Patriot’s Day 2014 coincided with Easter Monday this year, marking rebirth, resilience and recovery — not only for those of the Christian faith but also for the 1 million spectators at this year’s Boston Marathon.
Last year, viewers cried among terrified throngs of people, desperately sprinting to get themselves as far away from the race path as possible. This year, police officers surrounded the crowd that pushed as one pack to find its way to the location of the incident that has forever changed the Boston Marathon – the finish line on Boylston Street.
The Boston Police Department had placed barricades along the entirety of the course, dividing the spectators from the runners by a few feet. More than 30 security checkpoints were set up at the exit of every T stop for bag inspections, and even more were located by the finish line. Spectators respected and helped the police in any way they could and, in turn, the police were relaxed and made sure the fans had a memorable day.
From 9:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. – nearly three hours after the majority of the runners had completed the race – everyone in Boston screamed and cried. But, unlike last year, the crowd was screaming and crying in memory of those lost, for the people who chose to run 26 miles for fun, and as proof that President Barack Obama was indeed correct when he made a statement to America applauding the work by the nurses, police and first responders last April after the bombings.
Then, at 2:49 p.m., the time that the bombs exploded in 2013, there was a moment of silence. The silence rang louder than the blasts of last year, and the explosion of voices after the announcer screamed, “Now yell for your city” to end the silence, undoubtedly quieted any fears of terrorism that would dare enter the city.
When Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line around noon, barely more than two hours into the race, he became the first American to win the race since 1983. The crowd erupted into a frenzy. Spectators exhibited excitement, joy and passion.
The city of Boston got back up, and ran again.
Alexa Pappas is a junior majoring in journalism.