Updated: 04/21/2014 4:43 PM
Created: 04/20/2014 4:29 PM KSTP.com
By: Ellen McNamara
Monday morning, nearly 36,000 runners are participating in The 118th Boston Marathon. That includes 615 runners from Minnesota.
Many were there last year when the bombs went off near the finish line. That includes 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS anchor Ellen McNamara.
McNamara spoke to a group of runners who are returning to Boston and are more determined to run than ever. She asked them about their memories from last year's marathon.
"It was just a beautiful, sunny, mild, just a great day," Diane Deigmann said.
It was 48 degrees at the start in Hopkinton, and the Boston Red Sox had beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. It was perfection on Patriots' Day.
"I was really happy, I looked at my time, it was acceptable," Mark Lindblom said.
"We had our medals, our water, food, and blankets on," Deigmann said.
Victories were celebrated, then the timing clock for the famous finish line hit 4:09:43.
"I was getting my bag, when the first bomb went off," Lisa Kresky-Griffin said. "The group I was with all just jumped, and went what the heck was that?"
"There was just this sense of give me my bag, I gotta get out of here," Deigmann said.
"The smoke was billowing off... (and I said), that's not an electrical box, I think it's a bomb," Lindblom said.
Minnesotans Lindblom, Kresky-Griffin, and Deigmann ran back to their hotel, only a block and a half away from the bombs.
"I saw a man with his pants blown off and soot all over his face and blood," Kresky-Griffin said.
"Nobody in the hotel knew anything," Lindblom said. "I said there was a bomb!" Sirens were getting closer, and runners who were now safe, gathered around TV's in hotel lobbies.
"It was like someone took a can of red paint all over the sidewalks," Kresky-Griffin said.
"Everyone just sunk, it was like everyone had smiles, and the mood just went swoosh," Lindblom said.
Every runner that crosses the finish line, will get a medal. But for runners who got last year's medal, it will always serve as a reminder for what happened.
"The injuries and the loss of life, it was just so terrible, that that over shadowed everything," Deigmann said.
Hotels were on lockdown after the bombings. Then on Tuesday, April 16, Deigmann and Kresky-Griffin walked back to the crime scene.
"It was very eerie, the sirens, the helicopters and the eerie quiet," Kresky-Griffin said. "We just all broke down it's a moment I won't forget."
"I can't let this person, or persons not make me do something that I should be doing," Lindblom said.
Runners, Bostonians, and Americans are resilient.
"I remember a few of the Bostonians approaching us, and asking us, did you finish? Are you going to come back to our city and run our marathon?," Kresky-Griffin said. "And we were like, we'll be back!"
"People come from all over the world not only to run it, but as you know, the people who watch it, the whole experience, they're not going to let that change what Boston is and what The Boston Marathon is," Lindblom said.
The runners McNamara interviewed have been training with Life Time Run, through Lifetime Fitness.
Even during our brutal winter, they continued to train outside.
You can track McNamara along the course Monday here. Her bib is #16680.