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BOSTON (AP) - The 118th running of the Boston Marathon has begun amid heavy security a year after the bombings near the race's finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

The race began at 8:50 a.m. Monday for mobility-impaired marathoners and at 9:32 a.m. for elite women. The elite male runners start at 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said at the starting line in Hopkinton that officials are trying to keep a traditional family feel to the marathon while maintaining tight security.

There are helicopters circling overhead, and bomb-sniffing dogs are checking through trash cans, as runners make their way along the route of the Boston Marathon.

A moment of silence was observed and "America the Beautiful" was played over a loudspeaker before the start of the race.

About 36,000 runners registered for the race - the second-largest field in its history.

State and local police officers are everywhere, even on the rooftops of some buildings. A year after the marathon was hit with a finish-line bombing attack that killed three people, runners today were dropped off by buses bearing the message, "Boston Strong."

Spectators went through tight security checkpoints before being allowed near Hopkinton Common for the start of the race.

Despite the heightened security, the mood is festive at the finish line. Spontaneous applause broke out as a group of Boston police officers walked near the site of last year's twin bombing. Children danced as the Rolling Stones' song "Start Me Up" blared over the loudspeakers.

Boston tightens security as 36,000 athletes prepare to run in the first marathon since last year's deadly bombing attack. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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