BOSTON (CBS) — The clock is ticking and the final countdown to Marathon Monday is underway. On Saturday, Fan Fest was busy with anxious runners buying gear and enjoying Boston in the fall.

“It’s wonderful. I love fall running. It’s my favorite time of year,” runner Tonya MacNeil said.

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Hundreds of runners crowded the finish line to grab a snapshot of this historic race with their bibs in hand. Fan Fest was filled with energy.

2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi took photos with runners. He says this city has touched his heart.

“I’m just blessed to be a part of that journey. And for me, 2014 was a magical moment. I was on this earth for a purpose to be inspiring people and I definitely feel that here,” Keflezighi said.

Mary Gilles is a charity runner who is just $1,000 away from her $20,000 goal.

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“I am running for Minds Matter Boston. It’s for inner city kids that get paired with two-on-one mentoring. So it’s like college prep,” Gilles said.

A pool of fewer runners and increased safety measures are in place, including a first — a marathon vaccine verification and testing tent.

“It definitely means a lot to the runners to be able to do it safely,” MacNeil said. “As a runner, it’s been a rough go and running got me through the pandemic. So it’s great to be able to leave it on the course and give it all I got.”

And that’s all anyone can ask of all these runners.

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You can watch the Boston Marathon live on Monday, October 11 on and WBZ-TV. Coverage starts at 4:30 a.m.

Paul Burton