A Couch to 5K plan is definitely the best way to get into running (links already in the thread above). Rather than running continuously, these plans work through progressively increasing intervals of running and walking.
The impact of running is hard on the legs, and it can take a while for the leg muscles and tendons to adjust, and typically these programs run for 8 weeks or so to give sufficient time for them to get stronger. So it's unlikely (and unwise) to run the full distance if you are not already a runner, but you can certainly run some.
And kudos to you for letting the events of Boston inspire, rather than intimidate, you.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
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