BOSTON -- A pair of runners from Louisiana said the Boston Marathon was grueling, and the heat made it tougher.
But for this couple, who were there when the bombs went off a year ago, it was an emotional marathon they swore they would complete to send a message.
Among the 36,000 runners in the Boston Marathon were a Baton Rouge couple, Leo Verde and his fiancee Laure Stoma.
He said they both started working toward this the day after the bombing.
“We swore that we were going to come back,” Verde said. “We swore that we were going to run the race together and that we were going to help, you know, this community.”
A year ago Stoma didn't run. She was waiting near the finish line for Verde when the first bomb went off.
“He came over the finish line four minutes later,” she said. “It was the longest four minutes of my life, as you can imagine.”
This time they both ran the marathon, as they had sworn they would.
“It was an emotional race for everyone,” Stoma said. “I mean everybody was so proud.”
Verde said everyone ran with one common goal.
“And that was to show everybody in the world, you know, that you can’t mess with, number one, the United States of America, number 2, the city of Boston,” Verde said.
One year after the horror of lives lost and hundreds injured, some might feel nervous and concerned about safety.
“Well of course you say a little prayer and you cross your fingers,” Stoma said. “We felt pretty secure.”
Verde said, “At no point at all did we feel threatened.”
And Verde said the extraordinary success of this day was a message -- whatever they bombers hoped to accomplish, he said they failed.
“Because I think it unified everybody,” he said. “And it made everybody stronger and it showed the way the masses came out today.”
Verde ran the marathon in 3 hour and 56 minutes. Stoma ran it in around 4 and a half hours.
They ran for the American Liver Foundation, for which they raised $8,000.