A cheering crowd welcomes the return of the Boston Marathon

Fans gather by Copley Square to cheer on runners as they cross the finish line. (Photo by Claudia Chiappa/BU News Service)

By Claudia Chiappa
Boston University News Service

The gloomy weather did not stop a crowd of anxious spectators from gathering to watch and cheer runners as they crossed the finish line at the 125th Boston Marathon Monday morning. 

While some showed up as early as 8 a.m., before the first groups began 26 miles away in Hopkinton, Copley Square was flooded with both local and international fans alike by the time Benson Kipruto crossed the finish line, coming in first for the men’s elite race.

“I used to be a runner myself and I just love seeing people accomplish this great thing and leading a marathon,” said Eric Aldan, a spectator from Dedham, Mass. “It’s such a great accomplishment and it’s just a great atmosphere every year.”

Aldan has been following the marathon for years. As a child, he would watch the runners from his grandparents’ house on Commonwealth Avenue.

“Last year was the first year I didn’t go due to COVID,” said Aldan, who showed up at the finish line at around 8:30 a.m. “It’s a tradition for sure.”

Throughout Boston, loud cheers and applause welcomed every runner along the way, with some holding homemade signs encouraging them to keep going.

“Having everyone out and about, especially after the pandemic… I think ever after the bombing, it’s just been a really nice thing for the city,” said Sarah Mullahy, a spectator who lives in Boston.

A spectator waves a Kenya flag as the country claims first place for men and women category in the 2021 Boston Marathon. (Photo by Claudia Chiappa/BU News Service)

The historic race came back this year after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Safety measures, already strict following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, now also included COVID-19 restrictions, complying with the city’s own mandate.

“The whole way we walked in there were security checkpoints, police presence,” Aldan said. “The city did a great job setting it up and it’s been a great time so far.”

Trevor Yuan, a viewer from Boston, said the security checkpoints made him feel safe enough to come to the marathon. And especially after a year of lockdowns and restrictions, a celebration was in order.

“I think it’s great to see all the runners from all over the world come back to Boston and get together and run,” said Yuan.

“It’s nice to be around people again,” Aldan said. “It’s nice to be together as a city again.”

Some eager fans watch from their windows as runners arrive at Copley Square. (Photo by Claudia Chiappa/BU News Service)

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