NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

April 22, 2014

REACHING THE FINISH LINE

For local runners, yesterday's marathon marked the end of a long journey

BOSTON — Two years ago, Sharon Chase of Newburyport tried to run the Boston Marathon for the first time, but was unable to finish and wound up receiving a deferral due to the searing heat that baked the streets of Boston that year.

Then last year, Chase was caught in the crowd after the two bombs went off at the finish line, stopping the race and preventing everyone still on the course from finishing.

Now, on her third attempt, Chase finally was able to finish the marathon.

“I finally finished, because nothing happened to stop me,” Chase said. “It was a little hot and my feet hurt, but I met some great people along the way and I finished.”

Though Chase’s official time was 5:41.40, her finish marked the culmination of a two-year journey that she shared with thousands of others whose dreams of completing the Boston Marathon were cut short, and yesterday proved to be the ideal celebration.

On a day defined by a city’s refusal to cower to terror, the atmosphere in the city of Boston felt exactly the way you would have expected. It felt jubilant, celebratory, passionate and excited, or in other words, it felt exactly like it did last year before the bombs went off, and every year before that too.

The only real difference is that this year the sense of community pride that has always existed had a name, and all along the route, “Boston Strong” was on full display.

“Everywhere you went by they were yelling that,” said Jen Currier, a Newburyport resident who finished in 3:43.25. “It was definitely supportive.”

Mike McCormick, a Newburyport resident who was running the marathon for the 32nd time, said the crowds were much bigger all along the route and that there was no shortage of enthusiasm and intensity. Rather than worrying about the specter of another bombing, however, McCormick said the battle each runner faced this year was the prospect of a hotter than average spring day.

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