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April 21. 2014 10:27PM

NH runners reclaim the day for themselves, city


Meghan McIver of Holderness and Nathan Semaio of Campton ran their first Boston Marathon Monday. (COURTESY)

They ran strong. They spectated strong.

Those who love to run long distances and those who love to watch folks run long distances grabbed the Boston Marathon and reclaimed it for themselves and for the city on Monday.

Hundreds of New Hampshire runners helped.

Some 32,000 runners in all covered the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, Mass., to downtown Boston. Throngs of spectators showed up to cheer them on, taking back the Patriots Day celebration that was turned into a time of chaos and mourning by the finish-line bombings of a year ago.

Larisa Dannis, a 26-year-old from Strafford who works in Manchester for a company in San Francisco, did a little of both — cheering and running.

Dannis was the second woman from New Hampshire to cross the finish line, in an impressive time of two hours, 44 minutes and 14 seconds.

She did it while encouraging the crowd to whoop it up much of the way.

"They talk about how there's nothing quite like the magic of the Boston Marathon and you feel that and hear that when you're out there," Dannis said. "It's really tangible. I haven't run it before it so I can't compare it to before, but the crowd kept you motivated and was lining the street for the whole 26.2."

Dannis did her share to keep the crowd involved.

"I was throwing my arms up and getting them going," she said. "People who ran were coming up afterward and saying they liked me being around them because I got the crowd going. I love the sport of running and it brings so much joy."

Meghan McIver of Holderness and Nathan Semaio of Campton are studying law at Suffolk and live not far from the finish line. They had left that area not long before the bombs went off last year.

So, too, had Jack Savage of Middleton.

All three made it their mission to come back this year and run. All three did and raised money for charities.

McIver and Semaio ran their first marathons.

Savage was running his fifth marathon overall and second Boston.

He noticed a different feel to the event than when he ran it two years ago.

"Everyone was taking it more seriously, in part because of the regulations," he said. "There weren't the costumed runners. People weren't there to show off. I noticed everyone was incredibly well-behaved and real supportive the whole way."

It was more crowded than usual, he said.

"People can get irritated, but I didn't see any of that," he said. "It seemed like everyone that was there wanted to be there, not for selfish reasons but for their collective psyche ... It was like there was a determination to pull this off and make it a positive thing."

As far as this handful of New Hampshire entrants was concerned, it was mission accomplished.

"It was probably the experience of a lifetime," McIver said Monday night from Boston. "Looking back it was awesome. We're walking to dinner right now and we're limping along and it's going to take 20 minutes to go a block, but everyone has their medals out and their orange jackets on and it's great. It was a lot of fun ... It was a great experience. Everyone was cheering and going crazy and it was Boston Strong everywhere."

Quarter Century Club

Score one for consistency. Tom Peters, 61, of Francestown became a member of the Marathon's Quarter Century Club when he completed Monday's race in a time of 3:16:49. He has now finished 25 straight Bostons. Coming out of last year's race, there were 52 runners who had completed 25 or more straight marathons.

Peters also finished last year's race in three hours, 16 minutes and change.

David Audet, 49, of Concord is in the club, too. Monday made it 27 straight for Audet. He finished in a time of 3:08:46.

alessels@unionleader.com


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