PORTLAND -- Thousands of runners will gather Sunday in downtown Portland for the 42nd running of the Portland Marathon.

The terror attack at the Boston Marathon prompted security changes for Portland. One of the most obvious is a ban on backpacks, which is how the Boston attackers carried their bombs.

At the marathon s fitness expo in Portland s downtown Hilton Hotel, emergency room nurse Candi Schimp signed up for a new first responders program. The idea is to identify medical experts on the course who can respond quickly in an emergency. She would probably jump in either way.

Yes, but this just gives me some street cred, she said looking at a special wrist band she will wear while running. Hopefully they'd know I could actually do something and not be in the way.

Several runners at Portland s expo were at Boston and on the course during the explosions. Vancouver's Whitney Hunter was just a block away. When he talked at his home after the attack, he wasn t sure he'd run another marathon.

But he is ready to take on the 26.2 miles. First in Portland, and then he ll return to run Boston.

I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it. It s the first really big marathon I ve done since Boston and so, should be fun, he said.

Dan Burzynski wore his Boston coat with pride. He was also near the blast.

I did not finish but I got within a half a mile from the finish line when they closed the course. So I was not able to complete. So I decided I wanted to come out here and do this one instead, Burzynski said.

The athletes have spent months preparing for Sunday's race. If there's anything top of mind, it s how their bodies will hold up.

Really, really excited, said Alexandra Echeverria who traveled to Portland from Costa Rica. Because I ve been with a little bit of ache on my leg, so hoping for a good race this weekend.

They will focus on endurance, not possible danger.

Don t even think about it. Just go out and have a good time, said race walker Loren Skogland.

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