PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – It’s an exciting time for sports fans in the New England area as the Red Sox kick off a two-game home stint on the series divisional of the American League Sunday night. This, as runners across the country make final preparations for Monday’s Boston Marathon.

One of those runners, Rhode Island State Soldier Daniel O’Neil, who will compete in his first marathon on one of the biggest stages on Monday.

Once the runners finish the 26.2-mile race, Boston will quickly focus on ALDS Game 4 at Fenway Park.

“It doesn’t get better than this,” said longtime Red Sox fan Thierri Cushing.

Fans near and far flocked around Fenway Park on Sunday as the Red Sox prepared for Game 3 of the ALDS.

“Playoff baseball here in Boston is crazy,” said Tyler Veldsci.

The stakes at an all time high, win or come home.

“The fans are different here. There is a different atmosphere here, everyone is excited, ”said Veldsci.

In the past, Red Sox games have landed on the same day as the marathon on Monday, but this year the 26-mile run takes place in October, lined up with baseball in the playoffs.

“These will be people who come together for Boston Strong,” said Boston super fan Britany Tompkins.

For Rhode Island Soldier Daniel O’Neil, running the Boston Marathon was a dream and his cause.

“Here I am in 2021 to run my very first cop marathon for kids with cancer,” says O’Neil.

O’Neil says training for a marathon isn’t a walk in the park. “There are days when it rains, there are days when it freezes. There are days when it’s very opt, but you have to keep training every day to be able to do your best in the marathon, ”says O’Neil.

After the 2020 marathon was canceled due to COVID, O’Neil is using his 2 years of training to do his best.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience, so I want to make sure I do my best,” says O’Neil.

It’s a mentally and physically demanding race.

“You know, pain is a weakness that leaves the body,” says O’Neil. “My wife and two boys have been there every step of the way to cheer me on and I can’t wait to see everyone in Boston on Monday,” says O’Neil.

Daniel O’Neil says he runs for more than his family. He says he helped raise nearly $ 300,000 for the “Flics for Kids with Cancer” charity. Hoping that the Boston Marathon becomes a new annual tradition.

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