PORTLAND -- For West Linn s Dave Harkin, last year s Boston Marathon is still like a bad dream. He had already finished the race, in a blistering two hours 35 minutes, and was back in his hotel room overlooking the finish line with his wife when they heard the first blast. They rushed to the window and saw the second.
You want to describe it but the words are not really there, Harkin said. And the emotions are too strong.
What followed was chaos; smoke, screams and runners fleeing the scene meeting oncoming racers headed toward the finish.
It was like a river running backward, Harkin said.
On the one-year anniversary of the race, Portland-area residents still have a difficult time talking about the experience. Powerful emotions are close to the surface.
Petra Lins said that after the race she felt joy and pride in her accomplishment and then the enormity of the blasts hit her later hard.
I realized that I m OK and a lot of people are OK, but then I just broke down when I realized that there are so many people that are not OK, Lins said.
Harkin and his family are headed back to this year s race, in large part to make sure that last year s tragedy does not define one of the great sporting events in America.
I want to go back and believe that there are some coalition of people that are good and will persevere and prevail, Harkin said.
Harkin calls the Boston Marathon the common person s Olympics, where regular folks train, make their qualifying time and then get to participate in a race with the support of an entire city.
Twenty-five thousand runners will run the Boston Marathon this Monday. All of those who were unable to finish last year s race have been invited back.