James Costello, a mail services employee at Harvard, survived the attack but was photographed walking away from the bomb site with singed skin and charred clothing.
Back on campus, Harvard’s runners and spectators were met by students who had experienced the day from a distance.
“It was hard to go back into Annenberg for the first time and see so many people in such a small space...like nothing had changed,” Elizabeth A. Melampy '16 said last week. “And for me so much had changed. So just to have that...atmosphere was really, really hard.”
Rooney remembered the news hitting him after he returned to campus.
“At that point it was really sinking in that this was something that was going to be very tragic, very sad, a real test to the community,” he said. “I just wanted normalcy.... I just remember feeling like ‘I don’t want to be in Boston right now.’”
In the days that followed, the investigation into the bombings would bring the conflict even closer to home. On Thursday, two days after the explosions, the FBI released images of the alleged perpetrators, later identified as Cambridge residents Tamerlan and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. As Harvard mourned its lost and injured, the Tsarnaev brothers rampaged through Cambridge, Allston, and Watertown on Thursday night and Friday morning, killing MIT Police officer Sean Collier and eventually drawing police into a shootout. The manhunt, which put much of greater Boston and Harvard on lockdown, ended with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture Friday evening in Watertown.
Now, a year later, scores of Harvard student and affiliates are poised to return to the finish line on Boylston Street.
“What makes me so happy is a lot of students, I hear, are going this year,” said Kerry M. Flynn ’14, a Crimson news editor, who watched the race from the sidelines last year. “You’re going to miss one day of class, it’s okay. It’s so much more important to go out and cheer on some friends and just be a part of a memorable day in your life.”
Melampy, who last year never made it to finish, said that she relishes the opportunity to have another chance at the famed course.
“There are so many people that want to run this race and to be able to do it again is really awesome,” she said. “I’m really just excited to spend time on the course. I’m slow, I’m not going to win.... I’m just going to take my time on this course with all these beautiful people and I’m really, really excited to get to do that.”
The 118th running of the Marathon is set for next Monday, and according to race chairman Dave McGillivray, 36,000 runners—9,000 more than last year—have entered the race.
The Harvard College Marathon Challenge, a running group which sent around 20 runners to last year’s race on non-profit exemptions—the other, more popular, way to run the Marathon is to earn a spot by running a certain time at a qualifying event—will send a group of similar size to this year’s race, according to HCMC chair Craig Rodgers.
More will run in honor of friends and family who never finished a year ago, remembering the long shadow cast on a picture-perfect day in April.
—Zorigoo Tugsbayar and Tiana A. Abdulmassih contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mattclarida.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: April 15, 2014
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of times the Boston Marathon has been run. In fact, this year will be the 118th running of the marathon.