Boston Bound: Experienced and first-time runners set for marathon

DE PERE/MISHICOT – A year after two bombs ripped through the finish line at the Boston Marathon, 36,000 runners will be taking on the same course. Three people died in the attack.

This year’s marathon is in two weeks. It will be Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.

One runner, among many from our area, says the attack that stopped him last year won’t stop him this year.

“I’m not going to let them win, I’m going to go out and finish this thing,” said Larry Lueck of De Pere.

Lueck was 1.2 miles from completing the Boston Marathon last year. He was one of 5,600 runners who did not finish.

“You don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know the magnitude of the problem, and you don’t know where you are and how to get to where you need to get to, so it was a very surreal experience,” said Lueck.

Lueck decided to run this year’s race back in August.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, most people would say, ‘Oh, you had to jump at that opportunity, right?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, it was a tough decision.’ But I thought about it more, and I said, you know what, this is probably going to be the most emotional marathon you’ll ever participate in,” he said.

It will be the first Boston Marathon for Gary Princl of Mishicot.

“It’s something for the past 20 years I’ve often thought about,” said Princl.

The bombings motivated Princl to run the marathon in 2014.

“Made me want to run even more,” he said.

Princl has been running 30 to 40 miles a week to get ready for the race. He says during the event, he’ll be concentrating on staying healthy.

He’ll leave concerns about security to event organizers.

“I’ll let those people worry about that, and I’m sure they’ll do a good job,” said Princl.

On race day, 3,500 police officers will be on patrol, which is twice as many as last year.

Organizers expect up to a million spectators, double the typical crowd.

Lueck is also confident in the security, but says he’ll be thinking about last year as he finishes this race.

“I can remember that like it was yesterday, and I can remember every spot along the way. It was what I felt, what I heard, and where I was at the time,” he said.

Last year’s attack also injured more than 260 people.

One of the suspects was killed by police several days after the bombing. His brother is waiting for his trial and, if convicted, could receive a death sentence.

The Boston Athletic Association says 5,600 people didn’t finish last year’s race. 4,500 of those are coming back this year.

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