MARATHON WATCH: Course is ‘scream tunnel’ for fans

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Meb Keflezighi, of the United States, leads Josphat Boit, also from the United States, passed Wellesley College during the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Wellesley. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Meb Keflezighi, of the United States, leads Josphat Boit, also from the United States, passed Wellesley College during the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Wellesley. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

A race fan waves the American flag and a banner bearing the slogan “Boston Strong” as runners compete in the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Race fans line the course near the start line of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Runners in the first wave of 9,000 cross the start line of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Race fans from left, Andrew Lembecke, of Chicago, Brandon Petrich of Fargo, N.D, Marlene Youngblood of Louisville, Ky, and Bill Januszewski cheer near the finish line at the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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A look at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

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As waves of runners pass by, the noise from Wellesley College students has escalated and fans are going wild, rattling cowbells. One holds a sign that has a slot for a young woman’s face, calling it a “kissing booth.” Freshman Ashley De La Russo wipes sweat off her face after getting a big smooch from one runner who she says was pretty cute. “The energy here is amazing,” said De La Russo, from Orlando, Fla. “I knew it was going to be a scream tunnel, but this is just unbelievable.”

— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458

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With security a top concern at this year’s race, police have set up backpack checkpoints along the route of the marathon, particularly outside the exits of subway stations. Those with backpacks appear to be complying with the checks.

— Steve LeBlanc

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WAVING FLAGS: Carlos Arredondo and his wife, Melida, are standing in the viewing stands just past the finish line waving small American flags. Arredondo was wearing his trademark cowboy hat and a Boston Strong shirt.

The two were at last year’s race, handing out flags, when the bombs went off.

Arredondo quickly ran to the aid of Jeff Bauman and helped rush him in a wheelchair to medical attention, a scene captured in an arresting AP photo. Bauman lost his legs.

— Michelle R. Smith — www.twitter.com/MRSmithAP

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PLAY BALL: The local baseball team has its traditional Patriots Day morning start time Monday. Instead of wearing “Red Sox” across the chests of their home uniforms, the players’ jerseys read “Boston,” just as they did for the tribute to bombing victims at Fenway Park last April 20.

The reigning world champs host the Baltimore Orioles with the first pitch at 11:05 a.m.

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US CHAMP: American Tatyana McFadden won the women’s wheelchair race for the second straight year. McFadden celebrated her 25th birthday Monday.

McFadden was born in Russia and lived in an orphanage as a child.

— Pat Eaton-Robb — https://twitter.com/peatonrobb

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LIVE FROM THE COURSE: Bill Kole, AP’s New England bureau chief, is running the race — and tweeting from every mile. He reports from the start: “The gun booms, the runners roar; we’re off. I’m bobbing in a sea of fist pumps and high fives. Boston’s back.”

— Bill Kole — https://twitter.com/billkole

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PARTY ON: Once out of the starting town of Hopkinton, security appeared no stiffer than in past years. The traditional party atmosphere was in full force.

Loud music blared from a pair of tree-mounted speakers. Up the road, a string band played. Fans hauled coolers, beach chairs, strollers, even grills to the yards and driveways along the course.

The wall of sound that is Wellesley College was in full throat, with hundreds of students screaming loudly enough to be heard a quarter of a mile away.

— Rik Stevens — https://twitter.com/RikStevensAP

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FIRST CHAMP: Ernst van Dyk of South Africa won the men’s wheelchair division for a record 10th time. The 41-year-old crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 36 seconds.

Van Dyk holds the record for most all-categories Boston Marathon wins. This was his first win at this race since 2010.

— Pat Eaton-Robb — https://twitter.com/peatonrobb

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SIGNS OF TIMES: Fans in Ashland, 2 miles into the race, were showing their spirit with bright red T-shirts that read “Wicked Strong.”

A woman wearing “survivor” on her bib and “4.15” — the date of the bombing last year — broke from a walk into a jog as she approached a crowd in Ashland, eliciting a cheer from the spectators.

More than one sign of support along the route read “Collier Strong,” a tribute to the MIT police officer killed during the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers after the bombings.

— Rik Stevens — https://twitter.com/RikStevensAP

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INSPIRATION: On Marathon Monday in 2013, Sabrina Dello Russo and four of her friends watched the Red Sox game, then walked over to the finish line as she did every year. Dello Russo and Roseann Sdoia talked about running the race the next time around.

Dello Russo is now following through by taking on her first marathon, and she’s doing it for Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the bombing.

“She is my inspiration from Day 1 last year when I saw her in the ICU,” said Dello Russo, 38, from South Boston. “Every run I do, she is in the back of my head, and she will be keeping me going today.”

— Paige Sutherland — https://twitter.com/psutherland458

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GAME DAY FOR EMTS: The paramedics, EMTs and doctors responsible for the marathon’s final 2 miles gathered for final instructions near the finish line in Copley Square shortly after 9:30 a.m.

There are roughly 140 emergency medical personnel assigned to the last 2 miles, a jump from around 110 last year, according to Boston EMS chief James Hooley.

He told the group to “concentrate on today.”

“We almost don’t have

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