It was an unusually gray and chilly April morning, even for Boston, but that didn't stop a swarm of Boston Marathon runners from expressing their joy at picking up their race pins.
The elite runners were joined by race sponsors and officials Friday morning at a Boston news conference.
"You're in the presence of royalty," said Jim Gallagher, an official with sponsor John Hancock. "Combined, they have won over 80 marathons."
The atmosphere is euphoric, but it's underlined by the tragic events of a year ago. Without a doubt, the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013 will color this year's event.
You simply can't forget. The memories are palpable in the streets surrounding the finish line in Copley Square, even written on the ground in small teal-blue writing.
On the concrete, this memorial simply reads "Krystle" with a small blue heart, marking the spot where Krystle Campbell of Medford, Mass., was killed. The 29-year-old was among three killed at the site of the April 15 bombings.
There's a feeling of something to prove. Elite racers and novices alike will take to the streets of Boston once more on Monday in a show of courage and spirit.