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Patriots Staff, Alumni Finish Strong in Boston Marathon

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Former Patriots linebacker Eric Alexander ran the Boston Marathon for the Patriots Charitable Foundation. Courtesy of the New England Patriots

The Patriots Charitable Foundation, the charity arm of the New England Patriots, had 52 runners in Monday's 118th running of the Boston Marathon, including 15 staffers.

Former linebacker and special teams standout Eric Alexander also ran for the foundation's team. He finished the marathon in 5:17:42.

"It was an awesome experience," Alexander said. "It was tough, it was grueling. But being able to persevere and get through it, to finish, was great."

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Alexander, who ran last year's marathon but was unable to finish because of the bombs on Boylston Street, said the heightened security had no major effect on the runners. And despite the comfort of having a larger law enforcement presence, he did say that there were worries in the back of his head, especially whenever he heard alarms.

"When you heard all these sirens, it definitely brought back some feelings of discomfort," he said.

The foundation's team was spurred along by Patriots fans, Alexander said. They couldn't get through the race, from the start to the finish, without fans yelling "go Patriots!"

Every member of the foundation's team finished the 26.2 miles. Joe Van Allen, a 42-year old Patriots staff member, finished in 4:00:40 to lead the foundation’s team.

Among the top finishers for the team was Patriots social media manager Christy Berkery, the whiz behind the @Patriots Twitter account. She finished the race in 4:08:55.

Patriots Football Weekly assistant editor Andy Hart was not too far behind Berkery, finishing the race in 4:23:20. He had been one of the thousands that had been stopped in the 2013 Marathon after the explosions on Boylston Street.

Josh Kraft, son of team owner Robert Kraft and the president of the foundation, ran the marathon in 4:52:44.

The foundation was able to raise $375,475 as of April 15 for families and children throughout the region.

Other former Patriots players also jumped in the race for different causes. Doug Flutie finished in 5:23:54 while Tedy Bruschi finished in 4:47:44. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman showed their support for Marathon runners in other ways.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.