BOSTON, Massachusetts – The 2014 Boston Marathon was a day of victory for many people, including Filipino-American Raymond Martin.
"If you're trying to break the human spirit, marathoners are the worst people to target because people run 26 miles for fun," Martin said. It was a quote he read just days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded 264 others.
Martin, a four-time Paralympic gold medalist crossed the 118th Boston Marathon’s finish line with a personal best of 1:48:26. He placed 39th overall and 2nd in his age division.
The 20-year-old Push Rim Wheelchair Division racer broke his own 2013 personal record of 2:01:29.
"I beat it by 11 minutes so I was really excited to cross at 1:48," he said.
Martin's mom, April, said the whole family is thankful that the Filipino Paralympic star was long gone when the two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line last year.
"Last year the second bomb was across the street from where we were staying or from where we were standing when Raymond passed, so we were there, just two to three hours before the bomb exploded," she said. "It was really scary."
Martin's father Danny said, "Raymond insisted that he was going to return back to Boston and he was determined to do this race no matter what. I'm ecstatic that we're all here and Raymond finished safely."
"We have to show to them, those people, that want to do bad things to other people that we’re not afraid to face them," Martin’s grandmother Julita Abano said.
Security was tight at the finish line, every entrance secured, every bag checked, and everyone remained vigilant.
Residents believe this is the new normal for large public events such as the 2014 Boston Marathon.
"As you can see there's police here everywhere on the finish line, so definitely a lot tighter than in previous years," four-time Boston Marathon runner Arland Macasieb said. "It's just like after 9-11. After 9-11 we'll never be able to get into airport without having to go through security like we do now. I definitely feel secure."
For many runners, Monday's marathon was a powerful act of defiance against terrorism, with some 36,000 runners from across the globe and tens of thousands of spectators refusing to live in fear.
"I wanted to show that the marathon community is a strong community," Filipino Boston Marathon runner Wilmer Gange said. "We support Boston. We support the community. I wanted to come back and support the city, support the community and really want to take the city back".