Local runners say they won't be deterred

Carolyn Gray, who ran in the Boston Marathon, is comforted by Mike Alleruzzo, a member of the Fairmount Running Club, who was running Tuesday at the Philadelphia Art Museum in honor of the Boston runners.
Carolyn Gray, who ran in the Boston Marathon, is comforted by Mike Alleruzzo, a member of the Fairmount Running Club, who was running Tuesday at the Philadelphia Art Museum in honor of the Boston runners. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: April 18, 2013

Jim Price, 55, of Moorestown, who ran the Boston Marathon on Monday in 2 hours, 54 minutes, loves the big-city races precisely because of the energy he feels from the crowds.

He wonders if Monday's terrorist attack at the finish, killing three and injuring more than 170, will discourage spectators from coming to races such as next month's Broad Street Run.

"If this has an impact on those fans, it's really going to hurt those events," he said. "I've viewed . . . 26 miles as hard enough, and I don't have a desire to run that far along empty streets."

Many area runners Tuesday, including several who ran Boston, expressed deep regret over the tragedy but also showed a resolve to continue a sport they love, including for many the Broad Street Run on May 5, with some 40,000 runners. "I think the people will come out," Price said, "but race organizers are going to have to give a sense of security and control in order to make fans comfortable.

"Our family has come to these races, everyone - kids, cousins, and whatnot," he added. "To think that they're going to be at risk in the future is a little bit intimidating."

Julie Morrison, president of the Bryn Mawr Running Club, spent all afternoon Monday watching the horror on television, and working phones and text messages until all Boston runners from her club were accounted for.

"Once we'd heard from everybody," she said, "I went out for a run. That's what makes me the happiest. As a community, we must keep doing what we enjoy, and that's running, and not let something like this keep us away from that. That was my message to our club."

She plans to run Broad Street, along with 100 of her members. They will take buses to the race and tailgate after. She looks forward to supportive crowds that line all 10 miles of Philadelphia's signature running event.

"I'm sure there'll be challenges going forward," said Morrison, 37, of Ardmore. "There may be more things that we have to go through in order to get to a starting line or a finish line, but I truly hope that it doesn't take away from something we love."

 Jim Flanagan, 75, of Haddonfield, an elder statesman in Philadelphia-area masters running, finished his 21st Boston Marathon about 90 seconds before the blast. He was half a block away and unharmed.

For the last 21 years, Flanagan and his wife, MaryAnne, have stopped on the drive home at a diner in Newtown, Conn., near the Sandy Hook school where 20 children and six staff members were slain in December. They stopped there again Tuesday, believing that America was changing before their eyes.

"I'll just go on doing what I love," he said, intending to run Broad Street, "but I think there is a risk in almost everything you go to with a large group of people."  

Terry Delaney, 51, of Haddonfield, finished his sixth Boston Marathon on Monday and was still processing his emotions Tuesday while driving home.

"On one level, you're shaking," he said, "shaking to the core and you're scared. The definition of terrorism is to strike fear. But there's also the resiliency factor. Am I going to do Boston again? Absolutely. Not only because I love the event, but to show Boston, and to show the bad guys, you're not going to knock me down.

"The running community in particular," Delaney added, "we're tough people. You have a lousy day and you get back doing it."

Angela Marchetti, 35, of Blue Bell, won't be discouraged from running Broad Street. "Other than being observant," she said, "which I fear that I am already, I don't think I will change. I liked hearing Mayor Nutter say they're going to amp up and increase security. I felt very safe last year. There was a lot of police presence."

She hopes the great atmosphere and fan support won't change.

"I'm going to have my sister with me," she said. "I want to make it a positive experience."

Tom Leonard, 56, of Collingswood, who missed Broad Street last year in a hospital, recovering from a paralyzing stroke, is so looking forward to returning this year, his ninth. He may walk, but he is determined to finish.

"It's such a wonderful sport and it's done so many wonderful things for so many people, myself included," added Stephanie Clark, 32, of Philadelphia, who ran Boston on Monday in 3:33. "Just qualifying for Boston changed my life. Turned a life goal into a lifestyle.

"I'm doing six more marathons this year," she said, "but none of them are large marathons, and I'm kind of grateful. I was shut out of the Marine Corps Marathon [in Washington], and I'm actually glad."

"I'm sure security is going to be nuts at Broad Street," she added. "The subway alone will be very interesting."


Contact Michael Vitez

at 215-854-5639, mvitez@phillynews.com, or

on Twitter @Michaelvitez.

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