Amy Brakeman was among those fans lining the route. She remembers her father, George McDonald, qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 1979. That was when they were living in Palos Verdes, Calif.
Now, she lives in Wellesley, Mass. Her father, who is 80, lives in Long Beach, Calif., but they were both following the race today.
"I think of my dad each time I come out here to watch the marathon," Brakeman said, who got her dad on the phone for a joint interview.
Asked to remember the most enjoyable moment of that long-ago race (next to finishing, of course), McDonald did not hesitate. "The tunnel of screams," he said, referring to a stretch outside Wellesley college. "There was a huge mob of girls, screaming. It was the highlight."
McDonald went on to finish other marathons, but he never did Boston again.
After crossing the finish line, hundreds of weary runners walked or limped, with a man with a megaphone urged them to keep moving forward to get their medal.
The finishers looked for family and friends in the crowd as fans swung cowbells, the clanging a traditional method of encouragement at a marathon.
Some runners found that family members weren’t able to get to the finish line area because police had to close the area when the crowd became too large.
Matt Collins, 23, stopped to kiss his godmother Sheila Appleton on the cheek -- she stood behind the metal barriers -- but he was urged by race officials to keep moving. "We just wanted to see him finish," Appleton said.