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New York City Marathon kicks off days after deadly attack

NEW YORK -- The world once again turned its attention to the Big Apple on Sunday as the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon kicked off. Over 50,000 runners from across the globe were pushing themselves to the limit to traverse each of the five boroughs over a whopping 26 miles and change, CBS New York reports.

The day was dedicated to spirit and pride, and was marked by an unprecedented police presence to protect both the runners and the expected 2.5 million spectators cheering them on along the city-spanning route.

The enhanced security was in response to the truck attack in lower Manhattan on Halloween. Eight people were killed when accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov sped down the popular bike path near the West Side Highway, mowing down innocent cyclists and pedestrians.

NYC marathon security 02:59

"Our strength will be on full display Sunday at the marathon," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the wake of the attack. "We have people here from all over the globe. My message is we will keep them safe." 

From the rooftops to the roadways, the police presence was visible. Officers in plain clothes were also at every step along the route that took the runners through the city's five boroughs.

"We have hundreds of counter-terrorism trained officers on the route, radiation detection devices on their person, and a substantial number of explosive detecting K-9s on the route," NYPD Department Chief Carlos M. Gomez said last week. 

The counter-terror teams scoped out spots to place sand trucks to prevent another terrorist from using a vehicle as a deadly weapon.

"We've added more sand trucks and blocker vehicles, the most we have ever used in any detail in the city," Gomez said.

They've also doubled the number of sniper teams that will keep a watchful eye from high above the race course. The only law enforcement authorities in the sky higher than them will be the NYPD aviation teams. 

Those enjoying the world's largest marathon play a part, too. De Blasio reminded everyone of the phrase "see something, say something," which he said isn't just a slogan.

In these times, it's an obligation.

"We ask the people to be vigilant, it will be very easy to find a police officer on Sunday," the mayor said. "If anything at all seems out of the ordinary, let an officer know."

Runners who spoke with CBS New York said they're vigilant, but not afraid.

"Not at all, not at all," one man said. "I think this is the safest spot to be right now."

"You see police cars everywhere, police officers everywhere, you feel safe," one woman said.

Shrewsbury, New Jersey, resident Tracey McGee said she started running nine years ago after the premature birth of her twin boys, Jack and Ryan.

"Once they came home and got healthy I thought you know what, it's time for mom to go out and relieve some stress, start exercising in terms of running and I just went from there," she said.

McGee said that just last year she managed to complete the Boston Marathon with a stress fracture in her hip. She was told by her doctors she may never be able to run a marathon again.

And yet on Sunday, she stood ready to prove them wrong -- a testament to the resilience of the city and the thousands of runners who got to take an up close and personal tour of it Sunday.

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