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On Bombing Anniversary, Runners Look To ‘Close That Past And Start Again’

A crowd gathered at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Saturday morning for a Sports Illustrated cover shoot before the one-year anniversary of the bombings. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

A crowd gathered at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Saturday morning for a Sports Illustrated cover shoot before the one-year anniversary of the bombings. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

BOSTON — I remember going for a run on marathon day last April. It was already clear it was going to be a beautiful day, and it stayed that way until 2:49 p.m.

People will mark the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings in their own way today, but the weight of the day will fall most heavily at the finish line. That’s where survivors and first responders will hold a moment of silence at the time that first bomb went off.

It will be a day of mixed emotions for runners, who are anxious to run the marathon on Monday but also filled with the horrible memories of last year. Timmy King, of Boston, will run the Boston Marathon for the 21st straight time this year. He was among the thousands of people who showed up at the finish line early Saturday morning for a Sports Illustrated cover shoot.

“It’s time to close that past and start again,” he said. “Boston’s a great place. It’s full of energy. It’s full of good people. Like this [photo shoot,] we all came together and we did it together and it’s time to move onto the next year.”

The photo shoot on Saturday was a celebration. The picture will be quite a contrast to the famous photo on the magazine’s cover last April. Taken just seconds after the first bombs exploded, a runner is on the ground and three police officer are frozen in their first instance of reaction.

Michael Gosselin had already finished the race and was headed to his home in Boston’s South End when that picture was taken. Of the anniversary, he says, “it’s going to bring up a lot of bad memories again, but I think we’ve made a lot of progress moving forward. That’s what I’m trying to focus on with my runs, is really looking at all the positive things that have happened in the past year and to move on.”

A few hours after the bombings, I saw longtime race director Dave McGillivray at one of the first press conferences held by authorities. No one is closer to the Boston Marathon than he is, and I’ll never forget the look on his face that night. Today, Dave will be part of tribute event at the Hynes Convention Center.

“Certainly that’s the event we’re focused on in terms of remembering, because we really would like race day to be about the race,” he told me. “I think it’s the whole concept of not giving in — resilience, perseverance — not giving in and taking back what’s rightfully ours.”

And this morning, I’ll go for a run along the Charles River, just like I did a year ago today.

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