Group of runners returns to Boston Marathon after bombing - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Group of Michiana runners returns to Boston Marathon after last year's bombing


Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the deadly Boston Marathon Bombings. Three people were killed, and hundreds more injured after two bombs exploded near the finish line. The tragedy of last year isn't keeping competitors away.  So many runners have qualified that race officials predict it will be the second largest race in the Marathon's history.

Last year, two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and injuring more than 260 people. Many runners from last year weren't able to finish the race because the route was blocked off after the bombs exploded. Runners and spectators from around the world witnessed the blast, including four Michiana runners: Tracy Eaves, Laura Carlton, Lisa Smith and Colleen Dabler.

Luckily, none of the women, who've trained together for years, were injured. Tracy Eaves had just crossed the finish line and was on the phone with her husband when the bombs exploded. "I told him, 'I have to go, something's going on here, and as soon as he went on the Internet and Googled Boston, a million pictures of the explosions were already on there."

Lisa Smith who is a critical care nurse at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center cross the finish line two minutes after the bombs exploded. "I heard the first bomb go off, and you could feel it. I thought it was a canon. The second one went off, and people were running away.  I ran towards it. Being a nurse, I knew there were a lot of people who needed help." Smith was told to stay back by emergency responders because she says they weren't sure if more bombs were going to detonate.

Laura Carlson, a Notre Dame Professor, says the first thing she thought of were her three friends. "I didn't know where they were. I wasn't sure if they crossed the finish line.  I didn't know if they were behind me, in front of me. There were so many people, but I instantly thought, 'Where are my friends?'" She says when she returned home from the race, she had an outpouring of support from the Notre Dame campus. "Everyone kept coming up to me and saying, 'We're so glad you're back. It was very emotional.'"

Colleen Dabler is the only one not competing this year, but it's for good reason, she's pregnant! Due any day now, she says she'll miss being back in Boston to see the emotional support from everyone attending. "You're out there running, and people are cheering for you, telling you to keep going, they'll even yell your name if you have it on your shirt. Just seeing all these supporters out there, it's a shame what happened. It's such a positive experience and such an accomplishment for runners, and those bombs took that away from us last year."

All four of the women have a bracelet for their first Boston Marathon they ran last year. This year, they wear a new one with the engraving, "Boston Strong." Carlton says, "This year, I'm going to make a point to slap every hand out that's wanting a high-five. I'm going to wave to everyone. The runners weren't hurt nearly enough as the supporters of the race. They deserve the most out of this race this year."

The race will take of Monday, April 21st coincidentally on Patriot's Day. Runners will travel through eight cities and towns, reaching the finish line in downtown Boston. Eaves, Carlton, and Smith leave Friday morning for Boston. Dabler says, "I'll be watching it on TV with my newborn!" All four plan to run it again, the four of them together, next year.

The alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarvaev is in jail awaiting trial. His brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout just outside of Boston.

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