For 37 runners lined up at the starting line, the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Sunday wasn't just about conquering the 26.2 miles ahead of them.
It was finishing what they had started in Boston three weeks ago.
The Pittsburgh Marathon invited 50 runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon recently because of the bombings to race this weekend. Thirty-seven were able to make the trip, with Dick's Sporting Goods picking up the tab.
Micho Pilotte, 23 of Boston, had just crossed the 26-mile marker when she saw the bombs go off near the finish line. She was running to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
She said her one goal in the Boston Marathon was to get her singlet across the finish line to raise money for cancer patients. She didn't get to do it then, but finally accomplished her goal Sunday. This time, she had an even bigger cause.
"It's bigger than me and Dana Farber now," Ms. Pilotte said. "I get to run for the almost 3,000 people that didn't get to finish their marathons either. For the people that are hurt in the hospitals right now and saw terrible things on marathon Monday. I get to kind of have a little bit of retribution for people."
Ms. Pilotte admitted that it wasn't an easy decision to come to Pittsburgh and finish the race. She still has some trouble with crowds and loud noises, and wasn't sure when she would be comfortable re-entering Boston's Copley Square, where the bombings occurred.
When it came down to it, though, Ms. Pilotte felt this was an opportunity she just couldn't pass up.
"Ultimately what made the decision for me was if I look back on this and I pass up this opportunity, will I regret it?" she said. "And my first instinct was, yes, absolutely."
She finished the race Sunday in 4:32:35, and those final 0.2 miles that she didn't get to finish in Boston were the most emotional.
"I did it," she said. "I got to get my singlet across the finish line and I got to do it for all the people that didn't get to do it back in Boston."
It wasn't easy, especially after almost completing a marathon just three weeks prior, but Ms. Pilotte said the opportunity granted to her as well as the help of some friendly Pittsburghers helped keep her going.
"The Pittsburgh runners around me were amazing," she said. "I had Boston stuff on the back of my jersey and as they ran by, if I was having a moment of weakness and taking a minute to walk, they would pat me on the back and say, 'Come on, you've got this Boston.' Having people reference me as 'Boston' definitely was an inspiration to get me going again."
Beyond the 37 runners completing their race Sunday, hundreds more donned some sort of homage to Boston. Whether it was a "Boston Strong" wristband or just an old Red Sox shirt, the running community has rallied around the city.
"For a split second, on Monday and Tuesday of [marathon] week, I was afraid that something that I love so much in a city that's known for its running community was going to be changed, and it's so much stronger," Ms. Pilotte said. "It's so much more than I ever imagined it would be."
Sam Werner: email@example.com or Twitter @SWernerPG