There are more than runners headed into the city today for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.
The North Shore is sending police officers, firefighters, running club members and medical personnel to help manage an event with thousands of runners, hundreds of thousands of spectators and the eyes of the world upon it.
Several staff members from the North Shore Medical Center in Salem will be working the medical tent at the finish line. The volunteers include nurse practitioner Heather Carlson and nurses Kim Giroux, Tanya Blankenship and Deb Ferrari.
Dixie Patterson, a physician assistant, worked the medical tent last year and is running this year. She was one of 438 essay writers whose stories about how last year’s race impacted them earned a Boston Athletic Association bib number this year.
When the bombs exploded, Patterson left the tent, which was located behind the finish line, and ran to the aid of a badly injured spectator.
“She had open bilateral lower leg fractures,” said Patterson. “I was wrapping up the left leg when somebody else was wrapping up the right.”
Patterson has run marathons before and, after last year’s tragedy, dedicated herself to running Boston this year.
“I think for me it’s going to be sort of completing an important circle,” she said. “I want to run across the finish line from the right direction (this year).”
The Wicked Running Club, which has members from across the North Shore, will send 60 volunteers to work an official Power Gel station along the race route near Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Power Gel is a flavored energy booster.
“The group splits into teams of eight to 10 people on both sides of the road,” said Doug Bollen of Salem, vice president of the club.
The volunteers dress in colors that correlate with the Power Gel flavors they are handing out so the runners can grab their favorite flavor and keep going.