SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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April 26, 2013

On The Run column: Sticking together in a time of crisis

What a difference a few weeks can make.

Two weeks ago, local runners were gearing up for the Boston Marathon, ready to put months of training to good use. Scores of volunteers and support personnel were also looking forward to a busy Marathon Monday.

Of course, we all know what happened that day. But to me, what happened before and after the bombings says a lot about the tight-knit running community we’ve got on the North Shore.

It’s worth noting that Marathon Monday started off great. I headed to Wellesley with a group of fellow North Shore Striders to volunteer at the mile 12 water stop of the Boston Marathon. The day was beautiful, both for spectators and runners, with temps in the 50s and a mix of sun and clouds. I’d been on the other end of things, having run the race three times before and having watched it as a spectator, but this was a whole new vantage point.

We got to mile 12 at 8 a.m. and set up our tables with Gatorade and water. I was at one of the last water tables on the left as runners made their way toward the halfway point.

We had fun with it, having a little competition with the table next to us to see who could hand out the most cups of water. We saw the wheelchair racers come through first, followed by the elite women and then a pack of elite men, who started at 10 a.m.. Things got really busy around 11:30, when a steady stream of runners started coming through. We were very busy for the next 90 minutes, handing out cups. I started doing a carnival barker impression, yelling out water and cheering on runners who put their names or countries on their shirts. Most folks appreciated the shout-outs, and many runners thanked us for being out there.

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