LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – More than 16,000 participants will cross the finish line for the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Marathon and Mini-Marathon.
With hours to go, thousands of participants in the marathon and mini-marathon entered the final step of preparation, picking up their registration and numbers for the race.
While the excitement is building, there are signs all around that this will be a race like no other.
The Boston Marathon bombing is still on many runners minds.
“We will be more aware; just keeping our eyes open. [But] we always do," runner Sandra Webber said.
“One thing my daughter did say to me though is you better pray about this," runner Tula Pakula said.
But for many they planned to run regardless but will be extra aware.
“When we all saw Boston we thought about what if we were there and about our friends that were there. It's chilling. I get the chills just thinking about it. But I think it will be fine and they are taking good care of us," runner Jacquelyn Conniff said.
Security is ramped up. Runners can no longer carry backpacks and spectators along the route are subject to search.
One of the biggest changes you'll see is where the finish line will be.
In years past, friends or family could just jump in and take a quick picture of a loved one crossing, well, not this year.
“There are credentials and those will have to get you into the finish line area and it will be tightly controlled, “Mike Berry of the Kentucky Derby Festival said.
There will more security. But for runners being here is the greatest tribute they can do for those who lost their lives in Boston or were injured.
“While it may be in the back of our minds, the focus is going through the race," runner Steven Kronenthal said.
Runners can wear ribbons in honor of the Boston Marathon. There's also a charity runners booth. Those that want to register at the last minute can pay $125 and that money will go direct to the Boston Fund.
For marathon street closures please click here for more information.