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Mixed Emotions for Jersey Shore Marathon Runners [AUDIO]

Monday’s Boston Marathon has special meaning for some Jersey Shore participants after last year’s deadly bombings at the finish line.

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Photo courtesy of Christy DeFilippis
Photo courtesy of Christy DeFilippis

Tinton Falls runner Christy DeFilippis said she’s a little nervous and excited about returning to the 26.2-mile course after finishing one hour ahead of the explosions.

“I’m more just excited to go and support the victims and support the race,” she said.

DeFilippis and her husband Rob were one block over when the bombs went off. After letting the events of that day sink in, DeFilippis decided the following day she would return to Boston this year and run again. She said watching recent footage of the bombings on television brings back memories of what happened and the nervousness of the experience.

“I can’t wait to get there, because I think it will be even more exciting to be a part of that process and the healing,” she said.

DeFilippis’s husband will be cheering her on again, but she’s also bringing her two children this year. She admitted there’s some hesitation about having her kids at the marathon, but that there’s natural fear when something like that happens.

“On some levels it’s irrational; the chances of the exact same thing happening in the exact same place is rare,” DeFilippis said.

Despite her feelings, she said she thinks the race will be safe.

Photo courtesy of Jason Protonentis
Photo courtesy of Jason Protonentis

“I think it will be an amazing healing and celebration and a good, almost like rebirth for the race,” DeFilippis said, adding security will be high. “I want my kids to see that bad things can happen, but life does go on and people do survive and bounce back. You can’t let fear keep you back from experiencing life and enjoying things like the Boston Marathon.”

Toms River runner Jason Protonentis completed his first Boston Marathon in 2010 and said he swore he wouldn’t do another one in the spring, given the training required during a brutal winter. He changed his mind after the bombing attacks.

“It’s definitely going to be very emotional turning onto that final street, Boylston Street,” Protonentis said.

He has no concerns about fear — or security.

“It’s going to be a little bit of an inconvenience,” he said, “but I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Protonentis is hoping to break three hours this year, with his wife and children cheering him on. DeFilippis is looking to run about three hours, 15 minutes.

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