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Local runners gather to honor Boston victims
Tears and hugs gave way to the familiar patter of feet pounding pavement Tuesday evening in Silverdale as nearly 100 local runners gathered to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The runners first gathered at the Silverdale Waterfront Park for a brief ceremony before setting out on either a four-mile or two-mile circuit around town.
“Today we remember and instead of giving into helplessness and despair, we do what we can do, what we must do,” said Pastor Sigi Helgeson from the Family of God Church. “We lift up prayers and we run. We run in remembrance. We run because we have to. We lift up prayers and we run because we cannot let the evil act have the last word.”
One of Tuesday night’s participants, Silverdale resident Renee Partsch, tracked her mom’s movements online as she made her way through the marathon on Monday.
“She crossed at 4:04:50,” Partsch said of her mom, former Silverdale resident Eileen Glenn. “I left the house to go to Costco and everybody started messaging me ‘explosion at the finishing area’ and I’m thinking that’s where she is, she’s right there. And she was. She had just grabbed her bottle of water and hadn’t even gotten her medal yet. My step-dad (Lee Glenn) was right off to the side near the bleachers and it was about 30 minutes before I heard from them.”
Partsch said she headed straight home from the store and turned on the news while text messages continued to pour in from concerned friends.
“I couldn’t keep up with the texts and calls,” she said. “I kept calling her phone and my step-dad’s phone. Finally, she called sobbing and said, ‘We’re okay. We’re okay and we’re getting as far away as we can.”
Partsch qualified for the Boston Marathon last year, but suffered a tibia stress fracture and couldn’t run in time to qualify for Monday’s race. She said she plans to qualify for next year’s race in Boston at a run in Newport, Oregon, in June with her mom.
“She’s ready to go back when I go so it will be awesome to run it with her,” Partsch said.
The run in Silverdale on Tuesday night was part of a world-wide event set to occur at different locations around the globe, called Runners United to Remember. More than 50,000 people RSVPed worldwide. Runners were able to print up race bibs with a silhouette of the Boston Skyline and Monday’s date.
Bremerton resident Chad Gillman, along with his fiancé, Amanda Rodgers, helped organize the local event.
“It turned into something really, really special here tonight so I was very happy with it,” Gillman said.
Tracyton resident Lee Derror rode her bike in support of the event. Running was her passion, until she was hit by a car years ago. During her recovery she was unable to run, and as she began to heal she realized that her injuries would prevent her from doing what she loved.
She said she felt especially upset by the explosions in Boston, seeing runners so close to finishing or recently finishing the race only to be caught up in the blasts.
“When I got hit by a car … it took me two years to realize I couldn’t run anymore,” she said. “But I’ve got both my legs.”
Now Derror bikes and volunteers at running events to fill the void where her running used to be. On Tuesday she joined the runners and walkers in their simple gesture to run with and run for those hurt in Boston.