BOSTON (AP) - There are helicopters circling overhead, and bomb-sniffing dogs are checking through trash cans, as runners make their way along the route of the Boston Marathon.
State and local police officers are everywhere, even on the rooftops of some buildings.
A year after the marathon was hit with a finish-line bombing attack that killed three people, runners today were dropped off by buses bearing the message, "Boston Strong." Spectators went through tight security checkpoints before being allowed near Hopkinton Common for the start of the race. A moment of silence was observed before the marathon got under way.
A woman in Hopkinton who watches the start of the marathon in most years says she's never seen anything close to this level of security. But Jean Bertschman says everyone has been "very pleasant."
Despite the heightened security, the mood is festive at the finish line. Spontaneous applause broke out as a group of Boston police officers walked near the site of last year's twin bombing. Children danced as the Rolling Stones' song "Start Me Up" blared over the loudspeakers.