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By Matt McCoy
Last fall I was one of the more than 15,000 who particpated in the Nationwide Children's Hospitial Columbus Marathon, when I walked the half-marathon. The unquestioned highlight came just before I turned from High Street onto Nationwide Blvd. for the home stretch. That's when I saw my wife, daughter and son, on the sidewalk cheering me on. I even changed my path to high-five the kids. The mental image I have of the three of them smiling and waving is pure joy.
I still have that mental image today...but it's been changed forever by the news of the explosions near the finish of the Boston Marathon.
Today all I think about is the hundereds of families who were doing exactly what my family did--celebrate a special moment with a loved one...but instead of the memory I have, they experienced unspeakable tragedy, chaos and horror. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Columbus Couple Relays Their Experience
610 WTVN's Joel Riley had a chance to speak with Columbus Marathon director Darris Blackford and his wife Star on Tuesday morning. They both competed in the Boston Marathon Monday and are thankfully uninjured.
"I had just finished and was in the elevator bank at my hotel when the blast occured," Star Blakford said. "I'm one of the few people in the vicinity that did not hear it. When I stepped off of the elevator, my husband was there, having heard (the explosion). He had immediately run out to the elevator to start looking for me."
Darris Blackford had completed his run about an hour earlier and had returned to the hotel and heard the explosions from his room.
"I heard what was the loudest explosion I had ever heard," Darris Blackford told Joel. "As soon as I started walking to the window I heard second explosion and I knew...I could see from my window the explosions sites."
As director the Columbus Marathon, Darris told Joel the apparent terrorist attack on the iconic event in Boston hit home.
"I lose a lot of sleep in planning our event in terms of focusing on safety," Blackford said. "Safety is our number one issue, protecting our participants, our volunteers, the spectators and the citizens of the streets that we use...We never take our eye off the ball with regards to safety. If anything we're going to keep doing what we do but do more of it."
To listen to Joel's conversation with the Blackford's click HERE:
Cap City Half Marathon rolls on
Joel also spoke Tuesday with David Babner, director the the Cap City half-marathon coming up in Columbus in just three weeks. More than 14,000 runners are entered. To listen to Babner talk with Joel about the event, safety precautions and the response of runners following the Boston tragedy click HERE: