For Shane O'Hara, Boston Marathon marks a return to normal
If there were residual concerns about security before the race, you couldn't see it at the pre-race pasty party in the city's Government Center on Sunday night. Near the end of the dinner, at 8 p.m., organizers said they expected the final number of diners to be close to 12,000 people, more than the usual 8,000 to 9,000. Volunteers were shifting in and out of doorways with fresh bowls of fuel all evening. Sections of the dining area's three levels were divided by mile markers. Flags of the towns through which the race passes -- Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and finally Boston -- lined the top floor. What does it take to feed the Boston marathoners? Well, 11,300 pounds of pasta, 146 waiters and chefs, 36,000 packs of power gel. "This is always a celebration," says Mickey Lawrence, who has run the dinner for 30 years. "Everybody always wants to share the experience of the weekend, but this one is really special."