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Runners not deterred by tragedy

Local runners unite to honor victims, pledge to continue racing.

For Kenton Ridge High School grad Dan Beaver — and for countless other runners — the bombings at the Boston Marathon won’t deter him from future races.

Nor will it shake his sense of close-knit community with fellow runners.

“It clearly is a small community and everybody’s kind of brought together,” he said.

Beaver, who now lives in Arizona, crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday holding hands with his wife, Mary, about 15 minutes before the bombs went off. They were in the area where runners rest, get food and recover from one of running’s most storied events when the explosions went off.

“It just sounded like two cannons to me,” he said. “I didn’t really have any reason to believe it was a bomb or anything.”

But as first responders started running toward the site and emergency vehicles, including the bomb squad, arrived, it became clear something terrible had happened, Beaver said.

“You could see in people’s faces that something huge had just happened,” he said. “They just had a horrific look on their faces.”

This year was the 10th anniversary of Beaver’s first Boston Marathon.

Beaver and his wife were unable to get back to their hotel right away, which was close to the blast, but were returning home to Arizona on Tuesday.

Greenon grad Anne Chumlea Portlock, now of Monument, Colo., had completed the race and was trying to get on the subway when the bombs went off, she said in an email.

“It is … sad to see such a great race and a great day for running end this way,” she said. “This was my first Boston but it is easily my new favorite marathon. The fans here are over the top. I hope we do not let whoever is behind this ruin such a fine event.”

Beaver said he would return to the Boston Marathon in the future.

“The Boston Marathon, as a runner, so many of those people work so hard to get there to do this,” he said. “For marathon runners and runners, that’s like the Holy Grail.”

Kevin Frick, a Springfield resident and assistant track and cross country coach at Wittenberg University, also ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday and wasn’t injured.

His father, Ken Frick, came to Boston to watch the race and said he watched Kevin pass at mile 17 and had already returned to their hotel when the explosions occurred.

He left the hotel for some sightseeing and was about a block away when other members of the crowd began receiving a flurry of text messages. They also saw numerous people leaving the course area.

“All we were hearing were rumors and police sirens all over the place,” Ken Frick said.

When it became clear what had happened, he returned to his hotel room and said he got the majority of his news from TV.

“We were three blocks away but television was the best source of information anyone had,” Ken Frick said.

His son had previously run in marathons in Columbus and Toledo, but was fulfilling a goal by running in the Boston Marathon for the first time. Now, that memory will be tainted.

“This was going to be a very memorable experience for him for a very different reason,” Ken Frick said.

Runners are a close-knit community, bonded by their shared interest, said Beaver, who has met many runners through his own competing and Cadence Running Co., the store he and his wife own in Arizona. On Monday, runners from across the country and the world were commenting on his Facebook page, asking for updates and news of his safety.

Eight Clark County runners reinforced that sense of community Monday night.

They met at the C.J. Brown Reservoir for an impromptu group run to honor those runners and spectators killed and injured in the Boston Marathon and to prop each other up through the sadness over their comrades’ shattered lives.

“That’s what I like about this (sport) because this is family and they can try and tear us apart but …” local triathlete Doug Gladman said, going silent and shaking his head no.

“Runners in general, I think, are very supportive and friendly and there’s just a lot of camaraderie in the sport,” run organizer Lisa Duffey said.

Duffey, who’s run two marathons including the Columbus Marathon, said her good friend Emily Schmidt, of Beavercreek, ran her first Boston Marathon on Monday and escaped unscathed.

Duffey said she was worried about her because she didn’t hear from her right away.

“(And I) was sad that somebody’s trying to take the joy out of such an awesome event,” she said.

Gladman noted that a local event honoring the victims and potentially raising money would likely be planned in the future.

Flags will be flown at half-mast until sunset Saturday in honor of victims. There will also be a moment of silence at the Gantlet 5k Sunday at George Rogers Clark Park.

Four people from Logan County registered for the marathon, including the Hilliker YMCA’s wellness director, Carol Souza, and the chairman of the board, Terrence Stolly. Stolly and Souza were both uninjured in the attack, said Hilliker Director Jim Bouldin.

Stolly quickly alerted the YMCA that he was okay.

“We were concerned about Carol because we texted her as soon as we heard,” said Bouldin. “None of us heard from her.”

The blast happened right around Souza’s typical time for completing a marathon, he said. She soon texted that she had had a bad blister and a long bathroom break and was about .3 miles from the finish line when the bombs detonated.

“Thank the Lord was watching over me today,” her text read.

The Red Cross Safe and Well system can be useful in disasters, said Mike Larson, the executive director of the local chapter. People can register at any time and then access it via an app or a computer to update their status and family members can check on them through there.

“Yesterday, if you were in downtown Boston, they shut down the cell towers,” Larson said. “Folks that were in that cell tower area, you could not communicate. If someone could get to a computer, then they could update their status and then their family could search for them on Safe and Well.”

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