Boston bombings inspire Oregonians to run this year's marathon

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Boston Marathon will be much more crowded this year after officials announced they will register 9,000 additional runners compared to last year.

Two runners from Oregon say they decided to participate because of the 2013 attacks.

"After the attacks, I definitely wanted to be here this year," said Shannon Wilkinson, who will run the 26.2-mile course for the first time on Monday. "I thought it was going to be a really important way to unite people around the world."

Wilkinson, a rookie, will share the course with a marathon veteran, Joe English, who also arrived in Boston this weekend.

(English, from Hillsboro, is a professional running coach and not to be confused with KATU's Joe English.)

"This will be my third time here," said English from his hotel room in Boston. "I really hadn't planned to be back to Boston because there are so many races. But after the events of last year, I felt it was just important to be here."

English said it's part of saying thank you to the spectators, some of whom died or were seriously injured in last year's bombings.

"It took on a new weight for me and many runners. That's why I came back," he said.

As for Wilkinson -- she says she's not nervous at all when it comes to safety.

"Running a marathon, seeing people run a marathon, always makes me a little emotional," she said when we talked to her using Skype as she showed us around the registration tables at the marathon's expo center.

"Knowing people lost their lives and were gravely injured last year makes it even more emotional."