Runners preparing for today's 118th Boston Marathon will see some notable differences a year after the bombing—starting with the number of people running. This year, some 36,000 will take part, or 9,000 more than usual, NBC News reports. That's the second-biggest field the marathon has ever seen, Reuters notes. About 5,000 of this year's participants were running last year during the explosions; groups are taking part in honor of those who were killed or injured last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. They'll all see stepped-up security, with twice last year's number of cops patrolling the course, totaling about 3,500.
The course will be protected by steel barricades running 13 miles, along with 40 security checkpoints. More than 100 cameras will be placed along the Boston section of the route. The finish line, meanwhile, will be monitored from 50 "observation points." MSNBC notes that this year's runners include Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who's running as part of Team MR8—the 102-member group represents the Martin Richard Foundation, named for the 8-year-old boy killed in the bombings. " It's going to be tough, but I’ve never ever had the opportunity to run a race that is quite so meaningful," she says. This year, two Americans are hoping to bring victory to the US for the first time since 1985: Ryan Hall of California, 2009's third-place finisher, and Desiree Linden, who finished seconds short of victory in 2011, Reuters notes. Regardless of the winner, "today it's comeback day for all of us," writes Steve Silva in the Boston Globe.