Black was wearing her Boston numerical marker with the number “21015” pinned to the top of her running jersey. She was about a half-mile from the finish when the bombs went off at the marathon, and remembers thinking medics were rushing to aid a runner who suffered a heart attack. When she learned it was a bomb, Black said she feared that her sister, former Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, might have been injured. Schmidt was waiting near the finish line, uninjured.
Yesterday, Schmidt waited again for her sister as she crossed the finish line, this time at the speedway. Schmidt urged people to donate to a fund established for victims of the bombing — onefundboston.org.
“These people need our help. There will be no government help like there will be for the people in Moore, Okla.,” she said. “There will be no government aid to these people. These people have an economic loss as well as limbs lost — life lost, lives permanently damaged.”
Ron Kuczma, a 65-year-old from Hudson, Ohio, said it was thrilling to be able to take part in a ceremonial finish at the speedway, where several fans waved American flags.
But Kuczma said he couldn’t help thinking about the families of the bombing victims and the runners who are still recovering.
“We’re here having a lot of fun today. We were treated like dignitaries,” he said, “but there were a lot of people who were hurt in the bombings. And people died. We ran for them today. They couldn’t be here and we could so we ran for them.”
Paul Ryan of Marlborough, Mass., brought his father and sons to the race from the Boston area, and was unaware that the speedway was honoring victims of the bombing.
“I think it’s great that they were bringing people out here to honor and still to keep it going because people forget stuff so fast these days. It’s great that they were acknowledged out here,” he said. “There’s a lot of awful things going on right now that it’s easy to lose focus.
“We just appreciate it, being from Boston, that other people notice it.”