Boston Strong was more than a motto at this marathon

04/21/2014 4:47 PM

04/22/2014 6:55 PM

The canyon of noise that engulfed thousands of runners in downtown here today was only one indication that the 118th version of the historic Boston Marathon may have been the most emotional one ever.

Along with about 150 other Kansas City runners, I took part in a race that America's running community will be talking about and celebrating for years.

The heat of the day sapped the strength of thousands of runners. Many ran times slower than they hoped for or expected.

But the weather did not dampen the spirit of the crowds. They lined the 26.2-mile course, yelling words of encouragement and thanks from the start at Hopkinton to Boston.

For mile after mile, runners' ears rung with well wishes.

While the deadly bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon was on a lot of people's minds, the feeling here was that Bostonians were ready to be absolutely defiant and proud of this fabled race.

I wore my son's USA hat, and I heard thousands of people cheering "Go, USA" at me while I rolled through the first 22 miles - and struggled badly through much of the final four.

But that changed when I heard the extremely loud crowds in downtown Boston.

Even with my legs burning, that was my fastest mile of the day.

It's amazing what the spirit of encouragement from so many people can help accomplish.

Boston Strong was more than a motto here today in the aftermath of the 2013 tragedy.

It was a declaration that one of America's great cities will make sure this special race will not just survive but will thrive like never before.

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