When Steven Moore, a project manager in the department of chemistry, crosses the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, he expects he will feel triumphant. As of Sunday evening, Moore said he’s just focused on the race.
“It’s an early bedtime for me tonight. I’m just taking it easy,” Moore said. “I’m competitive, and I want to run faster. I’m going to leave the emotional connections for after I cross the finish line.”
Moore is one of roughly 36,000 runners who will compete in this year’s marathon — a field 9,000 runners larger than last year, according to the Boston Athletic Association. Last year, on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others.
Moore, who ran the race last year, said the death of Martin William Richard, an 8-year-old boy, resonated with him strongly during his preparation.
“He was there at the finish line to watch his father, with his mother and his sister,” Moore said. “That’s a carbon copy of my family. That could’ve been my wife and two kids, standing at the finish line to watch me. So I will run this race with him in mind.”
Mechanical engineering senior Spencer Buxton, who also ran in last year’s marathon, said deciding to tackle the marathon again was an easy decision.
“It was kind of a no-brainer to come back up here. It didn’t take long,” Buxton said. “Watching the city bounce back like it did and seeing everybody out here running — that’s electric.”
Buxton said he has tried not to dwell on concerns about the race’s safety, although he has noticed tightened security around Boston. This year, race officials have increased the number of law enforcement officers along the route, including undercover officers, banned baby strollers from the marathon area and set up checkpoints to search backpacks and coolers.
“You don’t let yourself think about it,” Buxton said. “It’s in the back of your mind … but everything is so much safer this year, and the energy of the city really overshadows anything else.”
Biology senior Patrick Hunt, who is also running the marathon for the second time, said he has also thought about the logistical difficulties of keeping the entire route safe.
“There’s always the worry, [but] I think I was more worried last year. … This year, I know security is so high,” Hunt said. “That wasn’t really going to stop me.”
Moore said he hopes finishing the marathon for a second time will be a gratifying experience.
“The first year, I ran the marathon out of respect for the sport,” Moore said. “After the events unfolded, I felt like there was some unfinished business. I felt like I needed to come back and be a part of things here.”
The 26.2-mile race will begin 10:30 a.m. CST and will be livestreamed on watchlive.baa.org.
Additional reporting by Alyssa Mahoney