© The Associated Press
A large crowd gathers to pose for photos at the Boston Marathon finish line, one day before the race, Sunday in Boston.
An odd mix of sadness, nervousness and jubilation will likely hover in the air as the Boston Marathon’s 2014 version goes today in Boston, Mass., a year after bombings last April killed three people and injured 264.
Summerside native Scott Clark and 17 other Islanders were there a year ago, and 24 P.E.I. runners, including Clark, are there competing today. He finished with a time of 2:45:54 last year, good for 525th overall.
But improving the time is only one thing on his mind when he races in his eighth Boston Marathon today. Clark is in the first wave which starts at 11 a.m. AT.
“I’m pretty excited to be headed down again,” said Clark, who won the P.E.I. Marathon in 2010 and 2007 and has finished in the Island race’s top-10 since 2005.
“I always planned on going back, to pay my respects to those that were killed and the hundreds injured. (They’re all) forever affected. I wanted to play my own small part. It will be an emotional day for sure.”
Two Massachusetts natives, a 29-year-old woman and an eight-year-old boy, and a Chinese national who was a Boston University graduate were killed by two bombs which detonated at the finish line. A fourth victim, an MIT police officer, was shot and killed in his car by the alleged bombers.
Most of the injured suffered shrapnel wounds and many lost limbs to the blast or later amputations by doctors.
For Clark, those memories were part of determination to return.
“If you run from something like that then you’ve given in,” he said.
As for security changes, Clark said he’s seen race security beef up during the years even before the bombings.
He said there are changes for runners, such as not being allowed to bring backpacks to the starting gate, but it’s not a problem for him.
“It’s not going to affect us too much. Less stuff to carry to the start line with you.”
And to the race, Clark’s best time in Boston was 2:43:28 (287th overall), set in 2010. He ran 2:44:42 to win the Island Marathon that year and has consistently been around the mark for several years.
But Clark, now 50 and in his 54th marathon race, said he’s trained (despite the harsh winter) and feels prepared to hit his modest target on the hilly Boston course. He’s drilled on the rises and rolls in New London as practice.
“My goal time is to come in under 2:50. I did a marathon in Florida two months ago and finished in 2:52,” he said.
“In January, I had 29 training days. Seventeen of those were on the treadmill, 12 were outside. But I’ve done my fair share of hills and I feel ready to challenge.”
Clark also plans to run in the Big Sur international marathon in California on April 27.