Boston Marathon spectators gather at finish line

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Thousands of spectators gathered in Copley Square on a cloudy Boston morning to cheer for marathon runners, many of them ringing bells or carrying signs. The return of the marathon is a sign of hope and a return to normalcy, many spectators say. 

For runners, last year’s cancellation of the in-person marathon was devastating, although many participated in the virtual run. Now, family members and friends have come from out of town to support their loved ones. 

Pam Jordan, wife of runner Ken Jordan, says her husband was “depressed” when the Boston Marathon was canceled last year but that he participated in the virtual event, and the whole family worked to make it special. 

“My mother put tape in our driveway for a finish line, and we even had our own Heartbreak Hill. But to be back now is amazing,” she said. 

The relationship between running and mental health was a theme for multiple spectators. Xio Castro Hidalgo, 43, chose the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health to be the recipient of the funds she would raise. 

“As many of you know,” she wrote to friends and family, “I have dealt with anxiety & depression since 2014. Discovering my love for running, not just for the sport, but also for the positive effect it has on my body and mindset, was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I truly believe God put this in my path in a way that I could not look away.”

Castro Hidalgo’s family wore T-shirts with her name and carried signs cheering her on. Her parents even traveled from Honduras to see Xio run her third marathon. 

The men’s wheelchair race began at 8:02 a.m. at the Hopkinton, Massachusetts, start line. Winner Marcel Hug, a Paralympian from Switzerland, narrowly missed beating his own record due to a missed turn. His final time was 1:18:11. The female wheelchair champion is Manuela Schär, also of Switzerland, who finished in one hour, 35 minutes, and 21 seconds. 

In the men’s elite division, Benson Kipruto of Kenya finished in two hours, five minutes and 13 seconds. It was his third marathon win, having won the Prague Marathon this year and the Toronto Marathon in 2018. The women’s elite champion also hails from Kenya. Diani Kipyogei finished in two hours, 24 minutes, and 45 seconds.

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