Boston Marathon runners race again - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Boston Marathon runners race again

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BOSTON (WFSB) -

It was one of the biggest turnouts in Boston Marathon history as many people ran for the first time in a show of solidarity after two bombs ripped through the finish line last year, injuring hundreds and killing three people. 

Eyewitness News spent Monday with people from Connecticut who both watched and ran in the 118th race.

There were 9,000 more runners than last year. In total, 36,000 athletes signed up for the Boston Marathon this year. Officials with the marathon had to add a fourth wave of runners at the starting line, which meant the marathon itself went on later.

Along the sidelines, the energy seemed to scream "Boston Strong."

"On fire, electric, wonderful," were the word used by Suzanne Lawlor, of Milford, to describe the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

"It's just amazing feeling, all the energy the spirit," Lawlor said. "It's wonderful."

One year after two bombs exploded at the finish line sending fear down Boylston Street, people were back in numbers never seen before. Dana Bastaracag from Shelton had no problem with the tighter security.

"This is more reassuring, being down here," said Bastaracag.

Boston Marathon traditionally is an event where people come and go, but this year more security measures were added. 

Bags were inspected this year, people were screened at checkpoints and there were barriers along the course keeping the public and runners separate.

Thousands of uniformed and plain clothes officers were all over the roads for security purposes. They were joined by out-of-state law enforcement agencies and the National Guard as well.

Connecticut law enforcement was at the Boston Marathon with its state police bomb techs and K-9s trained to sniff explosives. Last year, Connecticut K-9s were called to Boston in the days following the bombing where they worked and searched along the route.

These new security measures did not stop people from coming. This year, Boston police and the surrounding communities were planning for up to 1 million spectators along the course.

"Crowd support was the best I've ever seen in the last four years," said Jack Kelly, of Colchester.

Kelly said this year was about reclaiming this race.

"It was one of those things, this is our marathon, they tried to take it away for us," Kelly said. "No, they're never going to take it away from us. This is the runner's marathon. This is the Boston Marathon." 

New Britain police Chief James Wardwell was also one of the runners at 118th race. Eyewitness News spent some time with him before Monday's race when he shared his account of hearing those bombs last year.

"The decision to be here this year, I made marathon Monday last year," Wardwell said. 

Wardwell showed Eyewitness News his 22nd Boston Marathon medal just after crossing the finish line. Wardwell ran last year and had already finished the race when the bomb blasts went off.

Eyewitness News asked Wardwell if he was still angry about the attacks.

"Yeah, saddened. I did a lot of praying along the course, especially taking that turn onto Boylston [Street]," Wardwell said. [It] really hits home, this vicious, senseless attack on innocent folks."

Wardwell said he felt compelled to come back this year.

"The energy level was different. Certainly the athletes, but it was also with the crowds, you could feel it," Wardwell said.  "I was Boston Strong throughout. It was a good feeling."

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