Boston Marathon Begins Under Heavy Security, But Mood Is Cautiously Festive
The 118th running of the Boston Marathon "began under heavy security" this morning, but the mood "was festive at the finish line on Boylston Street," according to Jimmy Golen of the AP. A moment of silence "was observed and 'America the Beautiful' was played over a loudspeaker before the race began for mobility-impaired marathoners." Spontaneous applause "broke out as a group of Boston police officers walked near the site of last year's twin bombing and children danced as the Rolling Stones' song 'Start Me Up' blared over the loudspeakers." Helicopters "circled above and bomb-sniffing dogs checked through trash cans." However, for "all the security, the atmosphere "was calm and friendly." Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick this morning said that officials "were trying to keep a traditional family feel to the marathon while maintaining tight security" (AP, 4/21). USATODAY.com's G. Jeffrey MacDonald noted 3,500 uniformed police officers "along the marathon route ... were out in force, along with 800 National Guard soldiers and airmen from about 20 states." Heightened security was felt "far away from the race route in the suburbs, where undercover Homeland Security officers were riding subway cars before 7 a.m." Marathon organizers were "expecting a million spectators, more than double the usual number along the 26.2-mile route" (USATODAY.com, 4/21). WCVB-ABC's Kelley Tuthill wrote, "It’s definitely a different vibe here at #bostonmarathon finish line. What was once loose & light feels heavy w added security." WHDH-NBC's Byron Barnett: "We've got unbelievable security here @ the #BostonMarathon finish line." Boston.com's Eric Wilbur: "Went across the street to grab a bagel. Afterward, was re-routed down Clarendon for a re-sweep. Security not messing arounds." But KCAL-CBS's Kristine Leahy wrote, "Security checkpoints to get on Newbury (one block over from marathon route). No complaints here!"
MOVING FORWARD: Boston Athletic Association Exec Dir Tom Grilk prior to the start of the race said the atmosphere in Boston now is "what we hoped it would be, which is people are turning their eyes forward." Grilk: "The history of last year, like the history of the Boston Marathon, will always be with us and no part of it will be more poignant than that from last year. But there’s also a time to move forward." Universal Sports’ Paul Sunderland said, "You can feel the atmosphere that soon the page will be turned when the gun goes off" ("2014 Boston Marathon Pre-Race Show," Universal Sports, 4/21).