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State

Man, 53, set to run 35th straight Boston Marathon

CHICAGO (AP) – A 53-year-old Chicagoan’s participation in today’s Boston Marathon will be especially memorable, and not only because it will be his 35th consecutive run in one of the world’s most famous road races.

Mark Buciak could not finish last year’s Boston Marathon because of the twin bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

This year, he says there is a message to send.

“The eyes of the world will be upon us,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times for a story published on Sunday. “And we are going to show them that good wins [over evil].”

Only 16 people have run more consecutive Boston Marathons than Buciak, the Sun-Times reported. His best Boston Marathon time was a highly respectable 2 hours, 30 minutes and 25 seconds, which he ran when he was 22.

But last year, Buciak never crossed the finish line. He and thousands of other runners were stopped just three blocks away, as officials erected a crime-scene fence to hold them back. He understood only later it was because of bombings.

“The best thing I think I can do is to just run as hard and as fast as I can to honor the victims,” he told the newspaper.

Today won’t be Buciak’s first Boston Marathon after a crisis.

Buciak took part in 2006 just 11 weeks after having open-heart surgery to replace a faulty heart valve with one taken from a cow. With speed in mind, he joked that he had asked doctors for a valve harvested from a much faster animal – a cheetah.

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