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Usually, Savannah marathon runner Isaiah Douglas is concerned with finishing as fast as possible.
But Monday, the 52-year-old understood the significance of just competing in his 16th Boston Marathon.
It was a year ago when allegedly two terrorists planted two bombs near the finish line at the marathon. Three people died, 264 were injured.
In the following days, a policeman and one of the alleged terrorists were killed.
But the tragedies only showed the resolve of Boston and the world’s running community.
This year the marathon field was increased by 9,000 — approximately the number that couldn’t finish the race last year — to 36,000.
And the display of solidarity from runners and their supporters couldn’t have been more evident on Patriots Day.
“Boston boasts about being strong, and they lived up to it today,” said Douglas by phone Monday afternoon. “Boston showed up today.”
Douglas finished the 26.2-mile run in 3 hours, 33 minutes and 59 seconds — about eight minutes slower than a year ago.
He finished 972nd in his age group.
But who’s counting?
“I didn’t run as hard as I should have because I wanted everything to soak in,” said Douglas, a heavy equipment operator for Mason Concrete in Savannah. “I wanted to see the people cheering their support. The turnout was so amazing. I’ll remember this day the rest of my life.”
Extra security and precautions were taken that could have irked the competitors.
Runners were not allowed to bring warmup gear or a change of clothing to the starting area like they had in the past.
Instead, clothes were checked in at Boston Commons. Garments were placed in see-through bags provided by the marathon and runners were shuttled to the starting line by bus. Instead there were complaints about the weather — an unseasonably warm day about 70 degrees.
The last few miles were grueling.
No one was complaining, Douglas said.
“I talked to a lot of runners,” Douglas said. “No one seemed afraid of anything.”
Scott Douglas, who did not write the above article, is senior content editor for Runner’s World. He can be found most Saturdays at Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine. So, I guess not a runner then?
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