A look at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.
INSPIRATION: On Marathon Monday in 2013, Sabrina Dello Russo and four of her friends watched the Red Sox game, then walked over to the finish line as she did every year. Dello Russo and Roseann Sdoia talked about running the race the next time around.
Dello Russo is now following through by taking on her first marathon, and she's doing it for Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the bombing.
"She is my inspiration from Day 1 last year when I saw her in the ICU," said Dello Russo, 38, from South Boston. "Every run I do, she is in the back of my head, and she will be keeping me going today."
— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458
GAME DAY FOR EMTS: The paramedics, EMTs and doctors responsible for the marathon's final 2 miles gathered for final instructions near the finish line in Copley Square shortly after 9:30 a.m.
There are roughly 140 emergency medical personnel assigned to the last 2 miles, a jump from around 110 last year, according to Boston EMS chief James Hooley.
He told the group to "concentrate on today."
"We almost don't have the luxury to think about the past," Hooley said. "This is game day."
In an average year, he said, 3 or 4 percent of the runners need medical treatment of some kind.
"We've got a good, long day ahead of us," Hooley said.
— Steve Peoples — https://twitter.com/sppeoples
TAKING BACK RACE: The elite men and first wave of amateur runners have started.
Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray told them: "We're taking back our race. We're taking back the finish line."
The race's field is the second largest in its history. There are 35,755 confirmed entrants — 19,648 men and 16,107 women — far more than the typical 27,000. Organizers invited back more than 5,000 entrants who were still on the course last year when the bombs went off and made room for runners who submitted essays.
To accommodate everyone, the field is starting in four waves of about 9,000 people each. The biggest Boston Marathon was the 100th edition, in 1996, when there were 38,708 entrants. At the time it was the biggest marathon in history.
KEEPING WATCH: More than 250 personnel from law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, state and federal agencies and the National Guard were monitoring the race from a coordination center set up at the Framingham headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Radios crackled throughout the sprawling underground facility as officials watched feeds from security cameras, television coverage and helicopters. A list of "significant events"— including start times, street shutdowns and reports of unauthorized vehicles — scrolled across large monitors.
— Amy Crawford — https://twitter.com/amymcrawf
NOT NORMAL: As the crowd in Hopkinton waited for the elite men to start, the race announcer thanked the crowd for obeying the no-backpack policy: "Maybe some time in the future some normalcy will return."
After the national anthem was played, there was a flyover by Air National Guard helicopters.
— Bob Salsberg
AMERICAN DROUGHT: A huge cheer went up when Shalane Flanagan, of Marblehead, Mass., was introduced before the elite women started their race.
It's been nearly 30 years since an American woman won. That came in 1985 when Michigan's Lisa Larsen Weidenbach ran uncontested to capture the title in 2:34:06.
For the men, it's been a longer drought: Massachusetts' own Greg Meyer broke the tape in 1983 in a time of 2:09.
Since 1991, a runner from Kenya has won the men's race 19 times. The women's side has been more diverse. Since 1991, 10 Kenyan runners have captured the title, followed by Ethiopia with five and Russia with four.
— Rik Stevens — https://twitter.com/RikStevensAP
FATHER-SON FINALE: Dick and Rick Hoyt are among the most recognizable faces at the Boston Marathon. Rick has cerebral palsy and his father, Dick, pushes him along the course in a wheelchair every year. They've completed Boston 30 times.
They're so beloved that there's a statue in their honor in Hopkinton, where the race starts. They didn't get to finish last year because of the bombing. This will be their last time doing the marathon together — Dick is 74 — though Rick plans to continue with someone else pushing him.
SAFE RETURNS: John Stuart, 57, has run Boston 19 times and lives about three blocks from the finish line. He had a 16-race streak going and planned to run this year until he got a bug and was told not to by his doctor Friday.
Instead, he's scratching something off his bucket list, watching the elite runners cross the finish line for the first time and cheering on friends.
Stuart was running the race last year for the BAA team and finished about half an hour before the explosions. His wife, daughter and son were still in the finish line area when the bombs went off. His wife, Kathy, was knocked down. But none were seriously hurt.
They're sitting just a few feet away from the place where they watched last year. Kathy says she figures they were lucky in that spot last year, so why not come back?
A bomb-sniffing police dog earlier checked his family's chairs and the bags of people sitting nearby.
"It's sad that it's come to this," Kathy said. "You can't just walk and go to a race. It costs the city a whole lot of money. I'd rather have it be this way: safe."
— Michelle R. Smith — www.twitter.com/MRSmithAP
ALL THE WAY BACK: Among the returning runners is 58-year-old Carol Downing, of Monkton, Md. Daughters Erika Brannock and Nicole Gross were badly hurt last year as they waited for her to finish. Downing was stopped about a half-mile from the end of the race.
Both daughters will be in Boston this year to see their mom run, but they're still debating whether they will return to the finish line.
"I'm trying not to think about last year and just looking forward to getting to the finish line and seeing my family," Downing said. "This time having a better ending."
— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458
AND WE'RE OFF: The 118th Boston Marathon has begun. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick set off the first entrants in the mobility impaired division, who crossed the starting line at 8:50 a.m.
Minutes earlier, Hopkinton fell silent as a moment of remembrance was held. The only sounds on the streets of Hopkinton were the soft drone of helicopters circling overhead.
The wheelchair division starts at 9:17. Then the handcycles begin at 9:22, and the elite women at 9:32.
The elite men and the first wave of amateur runners go at 10. There are four waves in total, the last starting at 11:25.
— Bob Salsberg
CHANNEL GUIDE: National television coverage of the Boston Marathon will have an expanded reach but still won't be available to many viewers.
The race is broadcast on the Universal Sports network outside New England. It is offering a free preview to all customers of cable and satellite services that offer the channel, which is generally carried only on sports tiers. But nearly half the country's homes with televisions won't be able to watch the marathon because Universal Sports doesn't have deals with big providers such as Comcast and Cablevision.
Dean Walker, the network's senior vice president for production, said this month that Universal Sports, as a sports channel, would focus its coverage on the competition but celebrate the resilience of the city.
"This race will go on forever, and we want to show the entire nation that, despite what anybody tried to do, it is now stronger and more determined," he said.
— Rachel Cohen — https://twitter.com/rachelcohenap
READY TO RUN: Thousands of runners are gathering at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, one year after a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
State and local police officers were everywhere Monday morning, even on the rooftops of some buildings. But rather than a tense situation, everyone appeared relaxed. Some runners even thanked the police officers for making them feel safe.
Near the finish line, spontaneous applause and whoops broke out in the crowd as a group of Boston police officers walked down the center of Boylston Street.
About 36,000 runners have registered for the race — the second-largest field in its history, many of them coming to show support for the event and the city that was shocked by the attack on its signature sporting event.