Signs proclaiming "Boston Strong" adored the streets of Boston on Marathon Monday. Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
An estimated 1 million people are lining the route cheering on the more than 35,000 runners who left Hopkinton Monday morning on their way to Boston aiming to finish the 118th Boston Marathon.
The scene on Boylston Street, where last year two bombs exploded, was one of security and celebration. Boylston Street became so crowded just after 12:30 p.m. that Boston police said it had reached capacity and officials were closing the street to pedestrian traffic. Spectators were being redirected to Kenmore Square.
"It's hard to believe anything bad ever happened here. It's such a beautiful event," said Michelle Houghton of Grand Rapids, Mich., as she watched the race at the finish line.
Spectators turned out in force and lined the sidewalks about 10 people deep in some areas. But to get in the area near the finish line, people carrying bags had to have their belongings examined by security before being allowed close to the finish line. Those going through security were being patient and cooperative with the security officers.
Local celebrities and dignitaries also arrived at the finish line including Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his girlfriend. Marathon legend Bill Rodgers posed with former Mayor Tom Menino and Mayor Marty Walsh at the finish line.
On Boston Common, dozens of people signed posters with words and messages of love in encouragement in a special prayer tent.