Utahns returning to Boston Marathon a year after bombing filled with gratitude
Charles Krupa, Associated Press
HERRIMAN — "It'll be etched in my mind forever," Herriman resident Jennifer Park said of Boston.
Last April 15th two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon leaving three dead and more than 100 injured. There were just over 350 Utahns there.
It was Park's first year running the marathon and she said the race was "phenomenal" until she was stopped just after passing mile 25.
"Your heart will always ache for those people that lost their lives, the people that were severely injured, and those families affected," Park said becoming emotional Sunday, just over a week before the 2014 version of the race.
"But I mean, the running community, we're a strong, close-knit community. And we're going back to run for them and in memory of them. And as Americans, you know, we won't be defeated."
Park will be returning with her husband and two daughters for the race on April 21st and finish what she was unable to finish one year ago.
She recounted the generous Boston community. Park, her husband and several other runners were ushered into one woman's studio apartment where they were able to keep warm, charge their phones and wait to safely return to their cars.
"The people in Boston were amazing," she said. "They were so gracious to open up their hearts."
Michelle Booth would have been near the finish line at the time of the explosions had she not ran back to give her husband Jared a hug.
She said she's not fearful, but is looking forward to returning to Boston.
"Boston's so cool because so many thousands of people come and watch (the race) and celebrate their Patriots' Day that way and just come and cheer and be positive," she said.
Booth is looking forward to finishing what she and so many others worked so hard for last year. She plans to finish the race with a sense of gratitude and show the world "that we can be positive about our circumstances."
"We can always come out stronger than what we started with, with the right attitude," she said.
Jared Booth said the memories that stand out in his mind were seeing the city band together and watching others reach out and help.
"Boston was a really cool city in their reaction of everyone together after was a really neat, it was really neat to see," he said. "It was sobering but it didn't define, you can't have that define it."
Cory Walker Maxfield will also be returning to Boston this year to run the race for the fourth time, even though last year was going to be her last.
"I decided that couldn't be my last Boston Marathon," she said. "To have last year's race be the one that I remembered."
Despite the vivid memories, Maxfield said she's looking forward to an enjoyable experience and the camaraderie of racers and the Boston community.
"I know it's going to be a wonderful experience," she said. "The City of Boston put a lot of effort into making it a world-class event."
Jennifer Park said crossing the finish line this year will be emotional.
"I want to do my best, but I'm just excited to go and participate and feel the energy again this year," she said.
Dave Park, Jennifer's husband, echoed her sentiments.
"It'll be neat to see just that survivor mentality and how strong the city's going to be."
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