By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – The virtual Boston Marathon is underway. Some of this year’s participants ended their 26.2 mile run crossing the finish line on Boylston Street, but people are running all over the world.

“I was trying in my mind to picture all the crowds and think about how exciting it was,” said runner Maya Dube.

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Athletes in this year’s postponed Boston Marathon worried how the virtual experience would feel. Covid-19 drastically changed how they run.

“If anything it taught me you can do anything. Mentally, that’s all it takes,” Dube said.

But nothing can take away their reasons why.

“I kept thinking of them the whole time,” runner Michael York said. “Once you hit like the 20 mile mark, I kept picturing my girls and my wife waiting for me. They kept me going.”

“Running for my charity group Dream Big. They do a lot of great work for young girls in the greater Boston area to get involved in sports and scholarships. I just feel so blessed to be part of the dream big team and run for them this year,” said runner Ana Huddleston.

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Runners cross Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street (WBZ-TV)

Beaming smiles and tearful embraces at the Boylston Street finish line proved the true spirit of this race lives inside you.

“I can’t believe what she’s accomplished. You know your friends, and then you see them do something like this and it’s very moving,” said spectator Tracy Galloway.

This week, some 18,000 runners and wheelchair athletes will take on their own personal courses. And even though forced many miles apart, still – they run together.

“The people carry you through. It might not be the way we planned, but my people carried us through until the end,” said runner Claudia Baier.

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“The course itself is just as challenging. It was a great run on a great day. It’s so beautiful, in Boston,” Huddleston added.

Juli McDonald