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Apr 19, 2016 1:07 PM

More than 300 NH participants cross Boston Marathon finish line

BOSTON, Mass. - The 120th Boston Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world. This year, 500,000 people lined the 26.2 mile course to cheer on racers in a day that has become a symbol of strength and unity with an iconic finish line crossed by 317 Granite Staters.

“I just new even when I was a kid I wanted to do it," said 23-year-old John Corona, a University of New Hampshire alumnus, now working in Portsmouth. "It was really unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

This was Corona's first time running in the Boston Marathon - he finished with a time of 2:51:27.

“You’re just surrounded by people the whole way and the crowd is unbelievable," said Corona. "As soon as you start hurting, people are right there to pick you up. It’s just like a massive party for 26 miles.”

Runners trained for 18 weeks, running 600 miles before their 26.2-mile trek and heartbreak hill.

“Some people said it is bad, some people said it wasn’t," Corona said. "It’s tough, there’s no doubt about it.”

“Heartbreak Hill, honestly it wasn’t as bad as what I thought it was going to be," said John Keisling, an East Hampton runner in his first Boston Marathon. "The hill right before it was a lot worse," he said wearing his Pinkerton Academy track uniform.

He finished in 3:01:18.

“It wasn’t that bad, actually," said Matthew Fisk of Concord. "I got to the top and I was like, ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ The last three miles- that was bad," he said after he finished 3:34:24.

People from all over the world came to cheer on the 30,000 runners.

“It’s amazing," said Sara Nicholas of Texas who was cheering on her sister. "The people here have been so gracious and kind and friendly. It’s a great city. We really enjoyed it."

The top granite state runners were former UNH grad student, Aliaksandr Leuchanka finishing 2:32:37. The 26-year-old finished 45th overall for the men’s division. For the women’s division, 21-year-old Laura Hagley, of Hanover, was the 10th American female to finish at 30th overall. She finished 2:52:45 and had recently competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February.

More than 420 Granite Staters had registered for the event according the Marathon's website at racetime.

Athletes and the crowd agreed that this year’s weather was ideal, and much better than last year when it was cloudy and wet. Security lined the streets with checkpoints in popular viewing areas. They encouraged people to bring clear bag and conducted searches throughout the race route.

Patriots' quarterback, Tom Brady was seen in a photo showing support for one of the 2013 Boston Marathon survivors who ran this year's race.

Bobbi Gibb who was the first female to run the Boston Marathon, before there was even a women's division, celebrated her 50th anniversary of racing in the historic event as the grand marshal.

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