It takes incredible stamina and determination to do back-to-back marathons just 13 days apart. That makes the 400 Boston Marathon runners special. But this weekend, doing the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge has even more significance.
Even with 10,000 runners registered, the Boston Marathon runners stand out in their blue jackets. Many never got the chance to finish the Boston, so coming here so soon afterward has special meaning
"It's bittersweet to run this now in light of the people that lost their lives or were injured and a terrible tragedy of what happened in Boston," four-time Boston Marathon runner Juergen Ziegler said.
Fred Fabi gets a special bib, indicating he is doing back-to-back Boston and Big Sur marathons. The explosions at the Boston finish line are still fresh in his mind, so is security for this event.
"This is the first race since then," Fabi said. "We'll see. It's very important so I'm kind of interested in seeing how many changes they're going to have. It's hard to say. So we'll see how things are changing out there."
Race organizers say multiple agencies will be providing security. Signs at the Health and Fitness Expo, which is part of marathon weekend, warn that all bags are subject to search.
"I think it's going to be a very safe environment for spectators, friends and family, community, and runners and volunteers as well," Race Director Doug Thurston said.
Race entrants and their families gathered around a banner to sign their names and show their support for the Boston Marathon runners. Others made a minimum $20 contribution for a t-shirt that will help support victims of the attack.
"I want to reach out and specifically help the victims with hospital costs or even more security for next year's Boston Marathon," Big Sur International Marathon runner Margaret Chee said.
Many of the Boston runners said this weekend's race will be part of a healing process.
"I'm not going to let these people stop me from doing what I want to do," Canadian Boston Marathon runner Betty Annala said. "I'm not changing my life, and even more so now that this has happened, I feel the need to do what I love to do."
Sunday's race route from Big Sur up the coast to Carmel is essentially a closed course, which helps security. A moment of silence for the Boston Marathon victims will be held at the start of the race.