Iowa runner returns to Boston for fourth marathon

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An estimated 36,000 runners will participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon, and among them will be one local athlete who experienced the 2013 bombing attack first hand.

Patches Elmore, a local runner from Wilton, Iowa, was there in 2013 competing in her third Boston Marathon. She said she finished her race just 36 minutes before the bombings took place.

“I finished at 3:33,” she told News 8 after the 2013 Boston Marathon. “For Boston, it was a personal record for me. Before, I’ve always ran about four hours. Time is of the essence.”

News 8’s Angie Sharp spoke with Elmore again on Sunday, April 20, 2014, just one day before the big race. Elmore said she traveled to Boston with her two children, ready to show them what “Boston Strong” really means.

Related: East Moline runner prepares for 2014 Boston Marathon.

“Last year everybody was like “Good luck,” but this year you wear your old Boston jacket, that’s kind of like your badge of honor… and people are like, “Are you running tomorrow? Good luck. Be safe”,” she said.

Elmore dons a new pin on her old Boston jacket. That pin was given to her by a Boston firefighter.

“That was the first time that it emotionally hit me since I had been here… just talking about it now I get teary eyed about it,” Elmore said. “You just think about what they did that day, and where they were at that day, and how they helped to keep other people safe, and they put their lives on the line.”

This year, authorities have implemented some new rules to keep runners and spectators safe. Among the new regulations, people on scene will not be allowed to carry backpacks, wear bulky clothing or costumes covering the face. Also, nobody will be allowed to carry more than one liter of liquid.

Police planned to have 3,500 officers patrolling within the crowd. Those officers will have access to 100 more security cameras and bomb-sniffing dogs

More runners and more spectators than ever were expected to attend the race, and Elmore said they’re all there for a much bigger reason than racing.

“I don’t think we’re only running for ourselves, but I think we’re running for a purpose and I think that purpose is greater than us individually as an athlete,” she said. “We’re taking back the marathon. We’re coming back and it’s one of those where you’re not going to beat us – we’re taking this back.”

The night before her big race, Elmore and her kids went to the Boston Red Sox game where a ceremony was held to pay tribute to all the victims and heroes from the 2013 Boston Marathon.