NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

April 27, 2013

Boston tragedy doesn't deter distance runners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vicki Schmidt continues to suffer flashbacks of the bombs going off at the Boston Marathon. Her boyfriend, there cheering her on, has a hole in his eardrum and hearing loss in both ears.

The bombings occurred before Schmidt could finish the race, and the physical and mental wounds have made her more determined to run the half-marathon portion of Saturday’s Country Music Marathon — which promises to be an emotional event.

It is the largest combined marathon and half-marathon to be held in the United States since the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260.

“I’m not going to let what’s happened taint my love for running,” said Schmidt, a 51-year-old paralegal from Nashville. “I tend to think there’s a lot more good than evil in this world, and I can’t be scared to walk out my door.”

The Nashville paralegal isn’t alone.

Competitor Inc., the group that runs the Country Music Marathon, estimates 30,000 people will enter the marathon, half marathon and mini marathon events at Nashville this weekend. Executive vice president Tracy Sundlun said about the same number of people participated in last year’s event.

Vance Poss of Franklin had finished the Boston Marathon about an hour before the bombings. He was lying in his hotel room about three blocks from the finish line when he saw the news reports on television. He never had any second thoughts about running in Nashville this weekend.

“We’re not going to stop living the way we live just because of a few people who want to disrupt our fun,” Poss said.

Lynn Burnett of Livingston had fought through a hamstring injury to complete the Boston Marathon and was only about 500 feet beyond the finish line when the explosions hit. He plans to work as a pace leader Saturday in the half-marathon event.

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