Beverly resident Roger Quimby had some unfinished business to attend to Monday in Boston.
Quimby, 62, was three-quarters of a mile from finishing the Boston Marathon last year when two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three, injuring hundreds, sending thousands of spectators scattering and effectively ending the race.
Those thoughts of last year- of being forced to stop early, of worrying about his wife Marsha Quimby, who was stationed near the finish line cheering him on-drove Roger this year.
“That’s the only thing that kept me going I think. I was going to finish it one way or another,” he said after completing the race on Monday.
In every stride, in every cheering voice, this year’s marathon was an answer of resilience and triumph to the tragedy that befall last year’s marathon.
More than 36,000 runners and thousands more cheering onlookers, including Marsha, proved that last year’s tragedy was not going to deter them in the slightest.
In the midst of ramped up security and thousands of extra runners, the atmosphere was joyful, noted Marsha, 62.
“Sitting here in the gobs and gobs of people, everybody is talking and meeting their loved ones. The atmosphere and attitude seems to be great,” she said as she waited on Roger to get his medal after he crossed the finish line.
Roger’s safe finish was the main thought running through Marsha’s mind Monday as she waited in her spot near the finish line-the same spot where last year she had heard the explosions and saw the smoke rise on either side of her just across the street.
“All I was thinking about was just waiting to see Roger’s face come across the finish line. Whether it was a good time or a bad time didn’t make any difference to me,” she said.
But that sort of anticipation is typical of any race, noted Marsha. Roger is an avid runner, who competes in multiple races every year and previously completed the Boston Marathon in 2010.
In fact, crowds and runners reported feeling safe Monday, and security was noticeably increased.
“I noticed there were a lot more bicycle patrols. They said they were going to have a lot of plain clothes people,” said Marsha.
Along the raceway, uniformed law enforcement was stationed at least every half mile, noticed Roger.
Security cameras installed along the course and belonging to local businesses were pumped into one giant feed monitored by security personnel, he added.
“I don’t think anybody feared for anything,” he said.
In addition to the safe and happy atmosphere, Monday’s marathon was tinged with an air of defiance-defiance against brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who were responsible for the bombings.
The attitude, explained Marsha, was “We’re going to prove you didn’t phase us in the least.”
The crowds, which lined the streets throwing up cries of “Boston strong” were a great sense of inspiration for Roger, who ran this year’s race after a doctor told him he would likely have to hang up his running shoes after a 2011 knee surgery.
Marsha scoffed at the prediction.
“He proved them wrong. He’s been running,” she said.
As for next year’s Boston Marathon, Roger hopes to qualify again during the Columbus Marathon in October.
“If my body will let me,” he added.