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The stories of Utah's runners who united for the Boston Marathon victims

Published: Tuesday, April 23 2013 10:44 a.m. MDT

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By Amy Donaldson

SALT LAKE CITY — I saw her standing on the sidewalk next to her dad, eagerly scanning the crowd for that one face she'd come to support. When she saw her mother, she cheered momentarily and then bolted toward her.

"Can I run with you?" she called out. Her mom slowed, almost to a stop, and the preschool-aged little girl jogged in her jeans next to her mom. She only ran a couple hundred yards before she returned to her dad, but she wanted to run more and she made that clear.

This is where it all starts, I thought. This is where little girls decide running fast, just like their moms, is beautiful.

I passed a family — a father and four children — running together in a line, all holding hands. "We're going to stay together," the father said, instructing them on how to avoid collisions with other runners.

This is where families learn that nothing is too difficult or painful to overcome with the support of people who really know you — and still love you.

I passed Jesse Strong, running with his Army backpack full of gear on his back, who asked the women he was with if it would be OK if he ran on ahead.

This is where the courage and strength of other people will inspire you to be better and tougher than you imagined possible.

I passed a mom running in her Boston Marathon shirt pleasantly chatting with her son, who rode his bicycle next to her. She warned him about getting too close to runners and how to catch up to his father without bothering the runners swarming around them.

This is where little children learn that the needs of other people are as important as their own desires.

I passed a young mother, Colby Quinney, who pushed her baby, Noah, in a stroller. He wore the same yellow "Boston: Keep Running" shirts that many of the runners sported on the pleasant spring night.

This is where moms remind themselves that having children doesn't mean they do less for themselves. I passed two young women who approached the halfway mark and, clearly winded, decided they needed to walk. They talked about training for a race in June and what it might take to do it in a time that they would be proud of sharing. They smile, sweat glistening on their cheeks, as I said hello.

This, I thought to myself, is where runners are born. They take to the streets for different reasons, with different abilities and various kinds of baggage. Their reasons for starting don't matter — only that they had the courage to do so.
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