One year after bombings …

Eight Midcoast runners ready for historic Boston Marathon

Record numbers of participants, spectators likely in race's 118th running
By Mark Haskell | Mar 20, 2014

Boston, Mass. — The 118th running of the fabled Boston Marathon, by all accounts, figures to draw one of, if not the largest, crowds — both participants and spectators — in the history of the storied race.

And this will come one year after an unthinkable tragedy occurred.

At last year's race, two bombs detonated near the finish line on Boylston Street, which killed three people and injured more than 250 others.

Rather than deter runners and spectators from attending this year's 26.2-mile race, which will be held on Patriots Day Monday, April 21, this year's race is expected to have 9,000 additional runners, which will bring the total field to 36,000. A crowd of roughly one million spectators also is expected this year.

Eight Midcoast runners are registered for the event, according to the Boston Athletic Association website. Those runners include: Douglas C. Johnstone, 65, of Camden; Eric Kangas, 52, of Camden; Scott Layton, 38, of Rockport; Emily McDevitt, 49, of Camden; Seana Roubinek, 46, of Rockport; Monica Shields, 38, of Hope; Ellen Spring, 61, of Thomaston; and Theresa Withee, 47, of Hope.

Area runners are asked to call 594-4401, extension 116, to provide comments on this year's marathon.

Security will be doubled at this year's event with more than 3,500 police officers set to be on patrol during the race.

This year will be the 20th straight that Spring has run the race, and will be her 22nd time overall running the Boston Marathon. Johnstone and Withee also have run the race several times.

“Running the Boston Marathon over essentially the same course that others have run on Patriot's Day for 118 years is a privilege to me and this year especially so,” said Johnstone. “I feel very fortunate to have qualified [and] to participate in my sixth consecutive Boston [Marathon] in 2014.”

Spring, Withee, Johnstone, Kangas, Layton and McDevitt all ran the race last year, while only Johnstone, Layton and Kangas finished the race before the explosions took place.

Withee, Spring and McDevitt were still on the course when the explosions happened, but had passed the halfway point of the race. Runners who passed the 13.1-mile checkpoint last year were invited back for this year's race without the requirement of a qualifying time, though the runners still had to pay the required entry fee.

Withee ran another marathon and, in fact, qualified for the upcoming Boston Marathon, but decided to "stay with what the B.A.A. had on their records" from last year's race. She also participated in One Run For Boston last July, a relay race that began in Los Angeles, Calif. and ended at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Withee ran the last 13 miles of the race and was then presented with her medal she received from running the Boston Marathon, which she had been mailed after the event but had not yet opened as she felt it was important that she cross the finish line first.

She called the experience "very emotional."

"I am looking forward to this year's marathon," Withee said. "It will be full of excitement and nervousness. But this marathon is so full of tradition and celebration that I am really looking forward to the whole weekend."

Spring said it has been tough to train for the Boston Marathon this with the often frigid temperatures and steady snow during the winter, but that her "long runs have been on the weekends with friends." She added she is "really anticipating being able to run over the finish line this year" and that it "will be really special and emotional."

"We will all really appreciate the fans this year,” Spring said. “This is especially true when we realize that it was the fans who were so tragically affected by the bombings. They were only there to support us and they were the ones killed and injured.”

Spring said she thinks her "days of qualifying are over" and next year plans to be running for a charity and raising money to make the trek, as she typically does.

"My time will be slow this year, but it should be a great experience," she said.

In lieu of last year's bombings, the phrase “Boston Strong” became a well-known term, which helped bring the city together in different ways through times of tragedy. It also became a slogan used by the Boston Red Sox, which went on to win the 2013 World Series for Major League Baseball.

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