NEW CUMBERLAND-The streets of Boston rose up to meet Teresa "Terry" DeLong on Monday despite a terrorist attack that could have kept her from returning to the Boston Marathon.
The 66-year-old New Cumberland native ran her second Boston Marathon on Monday and finished in about four and a half hours.
"The whole crowd makes you feel like they're there just for you," DeLong said. "They're not just cheering for you. People are handing you bottles of water, oranges, bananas, pretzels."
New Cumberland resident Terry DeLong with her husband, Robert DeLong Sr., after Monday’s Boston Marathon. (Submitted photo)
DeLong's first Boston Marathon in 2013 was marred by terror bomb explosions near the finish line that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Several of her family members were waiting for her at the finish line last year but escaped injury.
This year, even more family members were with her-her husband, Robert DeLong Sr., her sons, Robert Jr. and Joseph, her daughter, Tammy Crago, and her sister, Cheryl "Sherry" Thrift.
"It could not have been any better," said DeLong, who estimates she averaged an 11-minute mile during the 26-mile marathon. "When I crossed that finish line, I got that same euphoric feeling as when I had my three children. It's really hard to explain."
A retired Hancock County teacher, DeLong said she had no hesitation about returning to the Boston Marathon this year-even with everything that happened in 2013.
"I had to do it," she said. "My feeling was: There are people who ran last year that lost a leg. If they can do that, I can do it."
DeLong said she also got encouragement from her family, especially her sons.
"Right after the race last year, my older son (Robert) put his arms around me and said, 'If you want to run again next year, I'll go with you,' " she said.
Monday's was only DeLong's third marathon. She qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon by doing well in the 2011 Columbus Marathon at age 63, she said.
While she trains at the Fitness Center at Mountaineer, DeLong said she runs wherever the spirit leads her-mostly in Hancock County.
DeLong said security at this year's marathon was extremely-understandably-tight. "There were policemen everywhere. ... They checked purses and everything. That was fine with me," she said.
Despite the precautions, DeLong described Monday's experience as wonderful. "The crowd was wonderful. There was a spirit there this year that was wonderful," she said.
DeLong said she had a slower time this year, partly because of a bad knee. Of the 132 women in the 65-69 age group who entered, she was one of the 118 who finished, according to the Boston Athletic Association.
"Finally, the rest of the world gets to see how wonderful she is," said DeLong's niece, Chester attorney April Manypenny Raines.