By Andrea Timpano
BU News Service

As crowds gathered in Kenmore Square to cheer on runners of the 118th Boston Marathon, one group of spectators stood out from the rest. They wore navy blue t-shirts with red lettering, the name of their hometown — Blackduck, Minnesota, emblazoned across their backs. The front of their shirts displayed the “Boston Strong” slogan, the mantra that has united the city in the year since the violence of last year’s Marathon Monday.

Six relatives of Nate Lien, a competitor in this year’s race, wore the shirts. Lien, 37, made the decision to register for the Boston Marathon after the bombings in 2013. He planned to retire from road marathons after completing his last race, says his wife, Meghan Lien, but he reconsidered in light of the tragedy.

“He thought this was one he definitely wanted to do,” Meghan Lien says, adding that Lien is a first-time Boston Marathon runner.

Being in Boston for this year’s marathon was important to Lien’s entire family.

Lien’s cousin, Nicole Miller, says the family wanted to be here to show their support for the runners. Still, the family says they were not without concerns. Given the events of last year, they decided it would be safer to watch from Kenmore Square than to venture near the finish line.

“I must admit I was worried.” Meghan Lien says, standing near the 25-mile marker outside Eastern Standard restaurant. “That’s why I didn’t bring our children.”

Despite their concerns, Miller says they booked their hotel rooms in the city before they knew if Lien had even qualified to compete. “We would have come no matter what,” Miller says.

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