Tallahassee Runners Return To Boston For Marathon

Updated By: Natalie Rubino
April 21, 2014 11pm

Thousands of runners crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon this year, sending out a strong message.

More than twenty people from Tallahassee ran the 26.2 miles today.

All of them say they were remembering the three people who died in the bombings last year along the way.

The 2013 deadly Boston Marathon bombings was an attack that shook the country.

Cutting the marathon short last year, the bombings did nothing to intimidate runners from returning this year.

Alan Cox ran the marathon last year and said it was important to him to run it again this year.

"The common theme was, 'I had to come back.' That was the common theme," he said.

Douglas Bell of Tallahassee said the only reason he ran the marathon this year was because of the bombings.

"I'm struggling from a work perspective to be here but because of the bombing I said, 'I have to be here.'"

Among runners from Tallahassee was Mickey Moore.

He ran the marathon in 2011 but vowed to come back this year after news of the bombings.

"I posted on Facebook that I would be there next year. As a runner there was a fire in my belly and I got a little bit upset," Moore said.

The race has 9,000 more runners this year than last, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to Boston.

"It was busy. It was packed. It was electric, but yet somber," Moore added.

At 2:49pm today, the time the bombs went off last year, the city had a moment of silence, followed by an array of cheers.

Each runner had his or her own way of remembering what happened last year.

"I visited both bomb sites and I left my one of my training shoes at each bomb site, with the name of the victims on them," Moore said.

Gary Griffin of Tallahassee ran in the marathon last year.

He finished again this year and described the whole day as 'healing' for the city.

"A fellow that I'm on the train with here, lived in Boston all his life. He said 'we needed today.' Speaking of Boston. 'Boston needed today,' Griffin said.

The runners said security was at an all time high but didn't interfere with the true spirit and energy of the Boston Marathon.

"They weren't in the way of the experience of watching the race. I think that's what was real important to the Bostonians. They didn't want it to get in the way of millions of people coming and watching and cheering," Laurie Cox of Tallahassee said.

By Julie Montanaro
April 21, 2014

More than a dozen runners from our area crossed the finish line in the Boston Marathon today.

They joined 36,000 runners in the streets of Boston.

Security was tight one year after bombs killed three runners and injured 260 more.

Local runners tell us the cheers were deafening and the winner crossed the finish line to chants of "U-S-A!" U-S-A!"

Laurie and Alan Cox of Tallahassee were there last year and said going back today was both healing and thrilling.

"To be there again today was unbelievable," Laurie Cox said afterward. "Just the amount of people that were there, the enthusiasm, the resilience of the people. They did a moment of silence at the exact time that the bombs went off last year and at the end people just went absolutely crazy."

"Everybody that stood around in these tents, if they've done it before, they all had the same motto and it was 'I had to come back' - that was definitely mine too. Glad I did, glad it's over and glad nothing happened," Alan Cox said.

Gary Griffin of Tallahassee also ran in the Boston Marathon today.

"It was the most fun I've ever had in a Boston Marathon," Griffin said. "It was just a great, great, great day. The crowds are always amazing," he said, "but today they probably outdid themselves."

Griffin says there were police officers and military personnel everywhere at the athletes village and along the route.

"What happened last year was in your mind constantly, not because of any fear factor, but because there were police all along the course," Griffin said. "I actually made it a point as I was heading toward the finish line of running over to the side of the road where the two bombs went off last year, so I could just remember, you know."

Griffin says as he was riding the train afterward a local told him "We needed today. Boston needed today."

We will be talking with other locals who competed in the Boston Marathon today tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.

By: Julie Montanaro
April 15, 2014, 6pm

One year ago today bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon - killing three people and injuring 260 others.

Today survivors and the families of those killed gathered in Boston to mark the anniversary .

Vice President Joe Biden saluted their courage, and Police commissioner William Evans said he hoped it would bring "some sense of comfort and some healing."

Tallahassee educator Allan Cox was running in the Boston Marathon that day. His wife was there cheering him on.

Cox stopped by our studios earlier today to talk about it.

COX: "Right when I was bending over for them to put the medal on me, both bombs went off... so myself and the lady that was putting the medal around me, we both ducked real quick. We didn't know what it was - we actually thought it was a celebration. But then I met Laurie after that and I can remember it to this day - a cop looked at us in the face and he said 'Get your family and vacate the area as soon as possible.' But it was very apparent about a minute after it went off that it was bad."

MONTANARO: ""And how close a call was it for your wife?"

COX: "Well I crossed 14 minutes before the bombs went off...so she started moving out of where the flags are - if you go back and look at that footage - 14 minutes before the bombs went off..."

MONTANARO: ""Were you surprised that it was targeted in the first place?"

COX: "Yes, absolutely, I mean, why? - to quote our president, it's about as cowardly as you can get. I have no sympathy for the guy that's left."

MONTANARO: "And do you think it's empowering for the runners to return?"

COX: "Without question. I'm excited to go back and race again. I've definitely gotten caught up in the fever right now, and I'm excited about flying in on Saturday."

There are about 30 folks from Tallahassee registered to run in this year's Boston Marathon. It's coming up on Monday.

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