Local runners more determined than deterred after attack

2013-04-26T17:00:00Z 2013-04-26T23:19:11Z Local runners more determined than deterred after attackJohn Burbridge, (219) 933-3371

SCHERERVILLE | You could say Misty Chandos is lucky, or you could say she is fast.

Or rather that she's lucky she is fast.

The 39-year-old Cedar Lake resident completed her fifth Boston Marathon on April 15. She had crossed the finish line and was safely in her hotel when the bombs went off.

"First, I was scared," Chandos said of learning about the unfolding events while watching TV and being flooded with email and Facebook messages.

"I didn't know if they were going to strike again," Chandos said. "Then I got sad for the victims ... the people who have worked so hard to get to Boston, and their families and friends who were right there to support them.

"Then I got mad. How dare they do this? What was the point to bomb one of the most politically neutral events in the world?"

Jen Ryman is a marathon runner herself. She wasn't in Boston that day, which made taking in the images all that tougher.

"I'm thinking 'Is Misty okay? Where is she? How can we find out if she made it out of there all right?' " Ryman said of her coworker and friend.

Ryman is the store manager at Fleet Feet Sports in Schererville, where Chandos is the director of training and event coordinator.

On April 22, one week after the attack, Fleet Feet sponsored "Run for Boston", a 5K fun run with proceeds going to One Fund Boston, Inc., founded by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and Boston mayor Tom Menino to help the people most affected by the terrorist attack.

"I didn't know about this until I returned to work the following Thursday," Chandos said of the nationwide event held by Fleet Feet stores across the country. "Corporate offices got a hold of us and Jen on Tuesday."

Despite the short notice, the Schererville store's "Run for Boston" event attracted more than 250 runners.

"It was mainly through word of mouth ... Facebook," Chandos said. "This just shows how strong the running community is."

The general reaction from that community indicates the tragic events may inspire more recreational runners to gravitate to marathons, and more marathons runners to get "Boston qualified."

"Now I feel more like qualifying," Ryman said. "I mean they attacked the wrong people. Marathoners are the among the strongest people in the world. We can persevere through most anything."

Courtney Wagner and Mark Weese, the respective women's and men's "unofficial" top placers of the untimed 5K that took place along the Pennsy Greenway trail behind the store, both plan to run their first full marathons this fall.

"I've done a few half-marathons," said 21-year-old Munster resident Wagner, who runs cross country at Purdue Calumet and currently own's the school record in the 5K. "(The Chicago Marathon) will be my first full one. What happened (in Boston) has just made me more determined."

The Chicago Marathon will also be Weems' first attempt.

"I'm running on behalf of PAWS Chicago," the 34-year-old St. John resident said of the no-kill animal shelter. "It may seem more dangerous to run marathons, but the way I see it there will be more precautions to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Before the 5K, Chandos shared the contents of an email she and other Boston Marathon runners received from the race's organizers assuring them that there will be a 118th running next spring.

"'You will run again'," Chandos read aloud the phrase repeated throughout the text before participating in the 5K herself to prove the message prophetic.

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