On a chilly, sunny Monday in Massachusetts, 1,710 people crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon before Rock Hill runner Scott Kennedy.
But for Kennedy, a longtime runner who wanted to help reclaim the finish line a year after a pair of brothers allegedly set off bombs that killed three people and injured more than 250 others, it wasn’t about who finished first or second or 1,711th, it was about finishing. Period.
“We showed that even homegrown terrorists can’t win,” said Kennedy, an hour after completing the 26.2-mile course, from Hopkinton, Mass., to the finish line near Copley Square in Boston.
The weather was beautiful and the crowds were “incredible,” Kennedy said, with people stacked three to four deep along the entire marathon route. DJs played music on street corners and people played drums to give the runners more energy.
It was unlike any other marathon he’s ever run, Kennedy said, partly because of the atmosphere and the significance and because so many runners were there to do it, no matter what.
“They may not have been in the best shape, they may not have been able to do that well,” Kennedy said of many of the 36,000 runners, 9,000 more than usual for Boston. “But they wouldn’t miss this.”
Kennedy was not the only runner from the Rock Hill area to complete the race on Monday. Ten runners from Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Tega Cay represented York County in Boston. At one point, among the tens of thousands of runners, three of them were within less than a kilometer of each other.
And one year later, after bomb blasts and a manhunt and untold numbers of people rallying behind Boston’s recovery, Kennedy said the marathon felt like closure to a very ugly chapter in the history of the city’s most revered sporting event.
“Things are back to normal here in Boston,” he said.