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Massachusetts National Guard supports 117th Boston Marathon 
 
Sgt. Ezequiel Valencia 
Sgt. Ezequiel Valencia, a human resources sergeant, with the 747 Military Police Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard, looks on as runners begin the 117th Boston Marathon April 15, 2013 in Hopkinton, Mass. More than 400 Guardsman were on hand to help local law enforcement keep the route clear for an estimated 27,000 runners. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class James C. Lally, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs)
By Sgt. 1st Class James C. Lally, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs 

HOPKINTON, Mass.
– More than 400 Massachusetts National Guardsmen helped local law enforcement to keep the route clear for runners as they beat feet to Boston during the Boston Marathon April 15, 2013.

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) registered 27,000 official entrants that are expected to run along the 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston. To accomplish this safely, the B.A.A. needs a lot of help from local law enforcement agencies that often turn to the Guard for additional security support.

“We are here at the request of our civilian partners to assist the local police and other emergency responders with public safety support,” said Lt. Col Mark Merlino, commander, 79th Troop Command, Massachusetts Army National Guard. “The Boston Marathon is one event that we proudly serve each year in concert with local, state and federal agencies. We always use these opportunities to help strengthen our relationships with fellow emergency response agencies. Our Guardsmen really seem to enjoy interacting with crowds of people who come to enjoy the Marathon.”

The intent of this security and community outreach mission is to provide personnel to enhance the capabilities of the local public safety organizations in the communities along the Marathon route.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and Massachusetts National Guardsmen take pride in helping to make it a success.

Pfc. Matthew S. Knowlton, a military policeman with the 747 Military Police Company, was one Soldier assigned to help out at the starting line.  Describing the scene Knowlton said, “This is a very positive setting, I’m just happy to be here. There are a lot of people here but it’s a great crowd.”

The B.A.A. was established in 1887 and now in its 125th Anniversary year, is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. Nearly 50,000 runners will participate in B.A.A. events in 2013.

4/15/2013