'It was extremely important for us to honor it as much as we could'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Thousands made the 26.2 or 13.1 mile trek to the finish line that cut across TrackTown USA. For return runners like Annie Loe, the course was a sight for sore eyes.

"it's a quaint run in a sense. You hit the river path and it's all cozy and beautiful and then of course Hayward adds a whole 'nother level," Loe said.

Outnumbering the dedicated runners in the 2013 Eugene Marathon were the countless friends and family members who lined the route, shouting encouragement.

Cory and Justin Wetzel cheered on their triplet sister, Shauna.

"We're not runners, but I definitely feel her pain," Cory said. "I'm her younger brother, she's my older sister and the best thing I can do is stand out here and root her on."

For first-timers and marathon veterans alike, most of the runners in Sunday's Eugene Marathon said they were running with another race in mind.

Just before the starting pistol at 7 a.m., everyone surrounding the starting line outside Hayward Field paused for a moment of silence to remember those at the Boston Marathon.

"I've done Boston a couple times, and you can just see it," said Loe. "You can see it in their eyes that it does resonate."

Many of the runners crossed the finish line with their hand across their chest. Diego Mercado ran through the ribbon taking first place, in his first half-marathon.

"An attack on one is an attack on everybody - especially in this community," Mercado said, gesturing around to his fellow runners." I think it was extremely important for us to honor it as much as we could."