Two Jefferson City runners will test their grit, strength and determination this morning in the 118th Boston Marathon.
For Dana Frese, the 26.2-mile race is a symbol of freedom and patriotism.
It's one he's already completed four times.
"There's nothing more patriotic than this event," he said of the long-standing American tradition, hosted every year on Patriot's Day. "It's in the place where America's independence began."
Today's race is Patty Burmeister's first Boston Marathon.
"I ran a little bit in high school, and in the last three years, it kind of took," said 48-year-old Burmeister.
She began running again with one of her sons who was in high school cross country.
"He did some 5Ks, and I started running with him and then with the Jog & Java group at Coffee Zone," she said.
She started training for a half-marathon last year and decided to add a marathon to her bucket list.
She ran her first marathon - where she qualified for Boston - last summer in Maryville.
She said the Boston Marathon will be a special one to run because she's originally from the Boston area - the South Shore.
Frese said the event will be an emotional one for him, especially as he finishes the the last leg on Boylston Street, the site of last year's Boston bombings.
"It's emotional for me even as I anticipate that," he said.
Last year, Frese crossed the finish line an hour before the bombings.
He and his family were in their hotel room less than a mile from the finish line. They had a bird's-eye view on the hotel's 26th floor.
They were able to get a flight out of Boston the next evening.
Neither Frese nor Burmeister have security concerns for this year's race.
"I'm not even going to think along those lines," Burmeister said. "There's all kinds of safety things. We can't check a bag. Them being really strict makes me feel safer."
Both runners realize the day will be a special one for Boston.
"Whether you're a runner or not, this is an important day for America," Frese said. "Watching the marathon runners is a way of life for the communities along the route. "I like to call it the Fourth of July of April."