ETexans finish 'Boston Strong'

Published on Monday, 21 April 2014 23:10 - Written by Phil Hicks, phicks@tylerpaper.com

 

The American spirit was on full display Monday in Boston, along with some Texas can-do attitudes.

Several East Texans, along with 32,000-plus runners, showed their grit and determination not to let terrorists spoil one of the world’s top events.

The East Texans said they were “honored” to take part in the 118th Boston Marathon, one year after the tragic bombings that felled last year’s race.

“The energy was so high from beginning to end,” said Mallory Meredith, 30, who had a time of 3 hours and 24 minutes and 49 seconds in her first Boston Marathon. “It was unbelievable. Every volunteer was thanking us for coming to the race. It was the same goal for everyone — Boston Strong.”

Ms. Meredith said a foot injury was not about to keep her from running.

“I absolutely wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” she said. “I had told some people early I would have crawled across the finish line if I had to. … Fortunately I did not have to do so.”

Marathon officials said 35,755 runners registered for the race, with 32,408 unofficial starters. The field included 600 people who were given special invitations for those who were “profoundly impacted” by the attacks and almost 5,000 runners who were stopped on the course last year when the bombs went off.

For Christy Richbourg, 46, it was her second Boston Marathon. She was determined to return after finishing the race last year just minutes before the bombs exploded.

“It was pretty awesome,” Ms. Richbourg said of the spirit surrounding the race. “Emotionally, it seemed different. … There were so many more people this year and so many volunteers.”

Ms. Richbourg ran a personal best of 3:39.48.

She said she was so happy for all the runners, especially the ones from Tyler and East Texas.

She said 81-year-old Harold Wilson finished with a time of 3:58.55, which was first in his division. Wilson said this was his last Boston Marathon. He said before the race he was going back one more time because “I don’t want the terrorists to defeat me.”

Frank Webb, 44, of Tyler ran a 3:02.48. He posted on Facebook: “Thanks to everyone for the supporting messages and keeping up with my day. My result was very good and look forward to future races! I couldn’t do the things I do without the support most of all of my bride and cheerleader and fellow runner Meredith Westbrook Webb!!”

Dr. John Camp, 52, of Tyler ran a 3:45.14. Camp, an orthopedic surgeon for Azalea Orthopedics, said the race went so smoothly with “more volunteers and more buses.”

“It was such a beautiful day, and some officials said a million fans lined the course all the way from the start in Hopkinton to the finish,” Camp told the Tyler Paper while waiting in line for the House of Blues. “It was very special. I didn’t have any issues about running. We felt very secure.”

This was Camp’s fifth Boston Marathon and 20th marathon overall.

Dr. Cathy Fieseler, despite a hamstring injury, was not to be denied. She competed anyway and finished the course in 6:23.42.

The director of sports medicine for Trinity Mother Frances Health Systems was not planning to run, but at the last minute decided to participate. It was her 16th Boston Marathon.

Seth Cooke, 33, of Tyler had the top time among East Texans. The triathlete had a clocking of 2:59.09 in his first Boston Marathon.

The Frankston husband-and-wife team of John and Marcy Beard crossed the finish line as the same time, finishing in identical clockings of 4:50.19.

All said the volunteers and shouts of encouragement from the crowd completed the emotionally charged day.