Kaye Anne Starosciak, 40, of Canton, headed north last week in preparation to run in her fifth Boston Marathon on Monday.
“Everyone’s going to have their eyes on that marathon this year,” Starosciak said. “That whole city is very excited and looking forward to healing with this marathon. I think there’s a lot of Boston pride in that marathon.”
Last year, Starosciak crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon at about 12:50 p.m., where her teenaged daughter, sister and parents sat in the bleachers cheering her on.
She and her family left the finish line area at about 1:15 p.m., just more than an hour before the explosions began.
The bombs, made inside pressure cookers and concealed in backpacks, went off just 12 seconds apart — quickly turning celebration into chaos.
Three people died from the blasts, including an 8-year-old boy, and one police officer was killed in the ensuing manhunt for the suspects responsible for the attack.
This year, Starosciak’s family will stay home, but not out of fear — the bleacher seats where they sat in years past are reserved for the families of the bombing victims this year.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous,” she said. “But we get a lot of emails — probably one or two a week — about how the marathon is handling security issues … they’re definitely taking a lot of precautions that we haven’t seen in the past.”
Starosciak will join four other local runners for the 118th Boston Marathon: Cyndi Smith, Bonnie Devine, Terri Kirkman and Kari Beard.
Starosciak qualified for the Elite Women’s Start this year, a big honor, she said. She’ll be running with professionals and other women who qualified for the earlier start. Only 50 women are in the group.
More than 36,000 other runners will begin the race at staggered times starting at 10 a.m.
But the race this year is about much more than sport, Starosciak said.
“It stands for a lot. In and of itself, it’s a race of endurance and persistence,” Starosciak said. “I think people coming back are showing that we’re not going to let terrorism take us down. It all comes together to show that we can’t be beaten.”
Starosciak, along with many more, are running to remember to victims.
Starosciak explained the symbols on the tank top she’ll wear during the marathon this year.
“The four halos are for the four lives lost last year with the bombing incident,” she said.She’s also running to remember a neighbor’s child, Lucy Jackson, who died at a young age and won’t ever have the chance to run in a marathon.
“The angel on back is in remembrance of Lucy,” she said. “The wings are for all those who can’t run.”
Finally, a cross adorns Starosciak’s shirt, which she said stands for the protection and strength that Jesus Christ brings.
“Fear not, for I am with thee,” Starosciak quoted.
The 26-mile marathon will take place on what is also Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.