For Phyllis Sevik, the goal for the 2014 Boston Marathon wasn't to finish, it was just to start.
In the tent for treatment after her legs cramped up shortly after she crossed the finish line, Sevik saw firsthand how the area immediately became a triage for victims.
"The injuries I saw were horrific," she said.
Sevik acknowledged that her experiences from last year affected her running over the past year, and she was hesitant about traveling to Boston this time around because she wasn't sure what to expect.
After finishing Monday, Sevik said the atmosphere was "fabulous."
"It was absolutely incredible, from all the runners, to the locals, to the volunteers," she said. "No one was going to stop the city from winning today."
Although Sevik was anxious about toeing the starting line, the crowds eased her anxiety.
"I'm just totally in awe at Boston," she said. "It was amazing."
Sevik finished the marathon in 3:49:42, her second Boston finish and fourth marathon finish overall.
She said security was noticeably increased, but didn't get the sense that anyone was apprehensive about running.
Sevik and her husband, Ken, were among more than a dozen Howard County Striders to participate in the marathon Monday.
More than 36,000 runners participated in the marathon, up about 9,000 from 2013.
Clarksville's Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair race for the second straight year Monday.
Rich Reinhardt, of North Laurel, ran in his first Boston Marathon and called it an "amazing experience."
"The crowds were so supportive. I've never had a race where my ears hurt because people were screaming so loud," he said.
Reinhardt, who had participated in six marathons before Boston, said he was "super motivated" to qualify this year after the events last year.
"I like to let people know that their stupid actions can't stop us from living our lives," he said. "This race means so much to the city."
Reinhardt finished in a time of 3:01.23, just off his goal of three hours, but qualifying him for the event next year.
"I cannot wait to go back and do it again," he said.
Faye Weaver, of Ellicott City, finished her first Boston Marathon Monday in 3:39:03.
Weaver knew this year's event would fill up quickly, so she ran the Erie marathon on a Sunday morning in September.
"Monday morning came and as soon as I could get on a computer, I was signing up," she said.
Before the race, she said she was "excited, scared, and anxious" to get started.
"It's like the mecca of marathons, it's just an honor to participate," she said.
Christine Brewer, a teacher at Cedar Lane School, called the amount of people cheering along the race “overwhelming.”
Brewer, competing in her first Boston Marathon, finished in 4:05:24 and although she was dissapointed in her finish said that “overall, it was a great day.”