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Why these Boston Marathon survivors are running again this year

While completing one of the great tests of the human body, marathoners in Boston a year ago Tuesday witnessed immense horror. But in addition to the terrorists' bomb blasts, there was also great hope and humanity on display that day as strangers came to the aid of wounded runners, volunteers and spectators after the two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. Many of those who ran last year will be at the starting line again on April 21. In fact, an estimated 36,000 runners will be there – 9,000 more than last year. The Globe talks to three runners who were there last April and are racing again this year.

Dan Way, Toronto

Last year was my first year running of the Boston Marathon. The event is pretty much the Olympics for us amateur runners, and I was both nervous and excited to run the historic event. The race itself didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, but I was still able to finish long before the bombs went off. My girlfriend and I were just about to meet some friends to go out and celebrate the beautiful day and our accomplishments when we got a “breaking news” update. Thus began several hours of pandemonium as we sought to contact all the friends and family we knew in Boston (some of whom finished around the time the bombs went off). Fortunately, no one we knew was harmed or affected directly by the bombings. I’m extremely proud to be running again this year in an attempt to reclaim the true meaning of the Boston Marathon, that being the celebration of a proud and committed sporting community. I am excited to go back to this great American city and show the world the resilience and resolve of runners across the world. (Photo by Michael Doyle)

Amy McIntyre, Udora, Ont.

I was having a post-race nap at the hotel and my husband, who did not run the race, was out getting something to eat when the bombs exploded. He saw the news alert come across the store’s TV and quickly headed back to our hotel to make sure I was safe. Yes, I am running again. Running is my passion. To me, the Boston Marathon is the most prestigious race any runner could dream of accomplishing. It will be my third Boston. This year it will most certainly be a different race. I am not nervous to run; I am extremely excited and proud to be going back. I think it will be an emotional race for every runner, on different levels. I am running to make new memories, and to show my support for the Boston Marathon, the running community, all the runners who did not finish last year and the victims whose lives were changed by the events last April.

George Woodward, Andover, Mass.

 was a quarter-mile from the finish, close enough to hear and feel the blasts and see the smoke. At first, I had no clue what was going on. One flash, perhaps some kind of special event. Then, after the second flash, we all went into fear-and-panic mode. Fear for our families, friends, city and fellow runners. Panic as in, “How do I find my friends and family. Are they okay? What do I do now?” It was then that I saw, first-hand, what a great city Boston is. Two people did a horrid thing, but then thousands of people did wonderful things for strangers.

I am not one of those runners raising money for wonderful causes. I am a bit selfish, as in I am running for myself. I love the competition. I not only run the marathon to finish, I race. I will struggle to keep my emotions in check as this race, and racing in general, has been taken to a new level. I almost cried seeing all the runners out last Sunday. I can only imagine how I will feel on race day. I think about the events of that day, and about all the people who were killed, injured and hurt, every time I run.

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