WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Marathoners embody persistence and determination, so it's no surprise that many of Westchester's long-distance warriors will return to the Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, as a show of support for a city that endured an act of terror last year.
More than 36,000 runners -- 9,000 more than 2013 -- have signed up for Monday's 118th Boston Marathon, a pointed response to the senseless bombings that killed three people and more than 250 others in the fourth hour of the 2013 race. The two bombs were set off near the marathon finish line at 2:45 p.m.
Hartsdale's Brian Wilantowicz, who ran the 2013 Boston Marathon, crossed the finish line in a time of 3:07.41, more than an hour before the explosions occurred. Wilantowicz is returning to Beantown for Monday's marathon.
"It is hard to articulate what I am feeling," Wilantowicz said Wednesday, April 16, five days before the race. "I am just looking forward to getting back to Boston and running again. Of course I want to do well, but it is also going to be an emotional day."
Wilantowicz said running the Boston Marathon is intense under normal circumstances, but this year it will be much more so.
"While running in marathons, there are a lot of things that go through your head," he said. "You look for ways to give you strength and inspiration. I often think about the people in my life and those who have passed on. This year I will also be thinking about all the people whose lives were affected on that day last year."
For Wilantowicz and other local marathoners, the victims of last year's attack are the spirit of Boston Strong, the theme of the survivors, Boston and supporters around the world.
"It may only be a small consolation, but I hope they know that they will be helping to motivate thousands of runners like myself on that day," Wilantowicz said. "I am positive that the 2014 marathon will be a big step in the healing process for the Boston and Boston Marathon community."
Starting times for the 118th Boston Marathon
Mobility Impaired -- 8:50 a.m. (6 entries)
Wheelchair Division -- 9:17 a.m. (30)
Handcycles -- 9:22 a.m. (24)
Elite Women -- 9:32 a.m. (50)
Elite Men & Wave One -- 10 a.m. (9,000)
Wave Two -- 10:25 a.m. (9,000)
Wave Three -- 11 a.m. (9,000)
Wave Four -- 11:25 a.m. (9,000)
For more on the Boston Marathon, entries, finishers and background on the race, log on to the official website.