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Boston Marathon: Local runners 'not afraid' to race

A year after a pair of terrorist bombs killed three people and injured hundreds of others during the Boston Marathon, several Miami Valley runners say they are looking forward to this year's race.

"We're going to show people we're not afraid," said Michael Willets of New Carlisle, who plans to travel to Boston with his family on Saturday, and will run in this year's race.

The marathon is scheduled for Monday morning. More than 36,000 people, including 50 from the Miami Valley, are expected to participate.

Last year's Boston Marathon was disrupted by two bombs, allegedly placed at the finish line by brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20. The elder brother died during a shootout with police while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting trial, possibly facing the death penalty.

Willets last ran the historic race in 2012, and he said communication has been notably different this year compared to previous years.

"We know security is going to be very tight," he said. "Almost every other day we are getting emails from organizers."

He contrasted that to getting correspondences about once per month in previous years.

When Willets heard about the 2013 bombings he felt "violated."

"That's hallowed ground for runners," he said, referring to the 118-year-old race. "That was ours."

Security experts say participants and spectators likely won't notice the increased security measures.

"The event itself won't be different for the runners," former FBI Special Agent Tim Shaw said. "There will be a lot of security in places that people won't see."

Authorities may not be able to stop every attack, but they will remain diligent, he said.

"If someone wants to blow themselves up, you're not going to stop that," Shaw said. "But you can limit their opportunities and you can limit the damage. That's what's being done."

The chaotic images of that attack shocked Beavercreek resident Brandon Hough, who will also run in this year's race.

"When it happened, I remember I immediately went out for a run and I was just angry," Hough said. "Running is such a peaceful sport and brings so much happiness to people."

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