A profound 26.2 miles: Henderson Hall commander runs at emotionally-charged Boston Marathon
Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall Commanding Officer Col. Anthony S. Barnes stops to take a photo with his wife at the top of Heartbreak Hill, near mile marker 21, during the Boston Marathon April 21, 2014.

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Forty-eight hours following his first-ever run at the Boston Marathon, Col. Anthony Barnes, commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Henderson Hall, was back at his desk on the Marine side of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. A year highlighted by qualifying and training for the most famous road race in the world was in his rear-view mirror.

But the emotional images of a Boston Strong attitude were still fresh in his mind. He shared his race experiences with the Pentagram days after his finish.

"I talked to several people who've been there before, had run multiple Boston Marathons-10 or 12 of them-and they said this was the biggest crowd they'd ever seen and the most energy they'd ever seen," Barnes said. "And it's pretty high in energy, but it was a little bit higher this year."

A year and approximately a week following a double bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line which killed three and injured over 250 people, Barnes joined thousands at the Hopkinton, Mass., starting line April 21 for the heart-thumping 26.2-mile excursion of Boston and its suburbs. Three hours, 54 minutes and 29 seconds following his start, he reached the Boylston Street finish line.

According to the Boston Athletic Association, a total of 31,805 marathoners finished the world's oldest annual 26.2 mile race and more than a million fans lined the course.

In regard to security, Barnes noticed a specific presence even a day before the race was to begin.

"Everywhere from the pre-race meal to the race, what I did notice was a dog [team] presence, which I've never seen at a marathon before," he recalled.

According to national news outlets, K-9 units used at this year's Boston Marathon more than tripled from 12 teams in 2013 to 45 dog units at this year's race.

Barnes qualified for the Boston race, his fifth overall marathon, at the 2013 Nashville Marathon. According to the commander, since Nashville's marathon is conducted a week following Boston, he was spurred on to finish strong in Tennessee last year, so he could be on the ground this April in Massachusetts.

"The bombing was a week before Nashville," Barnes remembered. "So that was some extra incentive to actually run hard and qualify [for Boston]."

Page last updated Fri April 25th, 2014 at 00:00