MIDLAND They ran in silence Thursday night. The only sounds that were heard were inhaling and exhaling and the scuffing of feet against pavement.
The group of 30 runners took a lap around Midland’s Barron Park to honor the victims of Monday’s horrific bombing of the Boston Marathon. They showed Boston they’re here for them and they’re praying.
“It could have been us there. It was us,” Shawn Hailey said, the president of the Permian Basin Running Club, before the lap began. The club usually meets on Thursday nights, but this evening run was stained with emotion.
Hailey, like the runners on Thursday night, felt a certain kinship with the victims in Boston. He told the group that, “We’ll keep going. We’ll keep fighting out there.”
As the smoke filled the air, runners who were finishing the race didn’t double over in exhaustion from running 26.2 miles, Hailey said, but instead turned around and ran toward the destruction to help.
“They grabbed a hand where they could,” Hailey said, reaching out to a young girl standing nearby. “It was an amazing thing. I was amazed. Everyone here would have been doing the same thing. We’re runners. We would have found a way to help someone else.”
He encouraged the group to join him next year to run the Boston Marathon.
Para-Olympian and Odessa native Jim Bob Bizzell was struck by the tragedy Monday. He was an All-American track star alongside Hailey in college until 2007 when he was in a motorcycle accident and his left leg was amputated below the knee.
“I didn’t let it stop me,” he said. Bizzell shared his testimony with a friend on Tuesday and “it moved her, It made me think I can help those people.” Bizzell is hoping to travel to Boston this month to speak to the victims who have lost limbs in the explosion.
Outfitted in donated white T-shirts that depicted the Boston skyline and “4/15/13” the community was drawn together by their common love and antithetically shocked at the cowardice and loss of life.
“Girl, it makes my heart hurt for them. How can someone do that?” Vicki Wright, of Midland, said. Nearby Lee Hartmann commented on how the suspect or suspects targeted not the elite runners but the average runner. “It’s just horrible,” Hartmann said. “This is the way that we can help, by showing Boston that we support them. We’re here for them and support the speedy recovery,” Hartmann said.
The two bombs detonated at the finish line killed three spectators and injured 170 people. On Thursday afternoon, the FBI released a photo and security video of two suspects; no arrests have been made. Also on Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke at a prayer service at Cathedral of Holy Cross referencing Hebrews 12:1, “Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us."
“I can’t comprehend why someone would go after a marathon. Everyone is celebrating everyone. Whether you’re this shape, or color, or religion. We’re runners, we’re a community. It breaks my heart,” Kate Clark said. She attended Thursday’s run with her daughter Kaelie, 4 and son Jack, 6.
Runners have a common understanding, Clark said. They lean on each other and support each other.
Just on Sunday, Clark ran her eighth marathon in Dallas. Her children waited for her near the finish line, just as so many children and family members did for their loved ones on Monday in Boston. Clark said they understand in some way what occurred.
“My daughter said ‘I’m so glad there’s not a bomb at this run,’” Clark said about her 4-year-old daughter Kaelie.
Taking two laps for Boston’s victims, were three young sisters who saw a mention of Thursday’s run in the news and pleaded with step-dad Eric Sanchez to take them.
“They are very compassionate. They felt bad and wanted to support them somehow,” Sanchez said.
“We wanted to support the Boston Marathon and the people who got injured,” Ana Rainwater, 12, said, while her sisters Kylia Zachery, 9 and Sidney Zachery, 10 stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
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