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OKC Memorial Marathon: Scar is a reminder to Pendletons

Todd, Robyn and Evan Pendleton will participate in Sunday's Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, remembering how close they were to the blast that day.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 24, 2012

Todd and Robyn Pendleton are reminded of the Oklahoma City bombing every time they look at their son Evan.

He still carries a small scar under his eye, a mark left by one of the many shards of glass that flew through the YMCA day care when that massive truck bomb went off half a block away.

Evan was among the lucky ones.

So were the Pendletons.

“You know that you're blessed,” Todd said. “It's like any time a traumatic event like that happens and you escape it. It really makes you reflect.”

And in the Pendletons' case, run.

All three of them will participate Sunday in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Todd will do the half marathon while Robyn and Evan run on relay teams.

The race has become a day of thanksgiving for the family.

On that April morning 17 years ago, Todd was running behind, as he sometimes did. He had to drop off Evan at the Downtown Y, then get to work at The Oklahoman, where he was and still is a graphic artist.

“You're going to be late again,” Robyn told him. “You'd better get going.”

Todd left Evan at day care just before 9 a.m. Then, he got in his truck and turned around right by the Murrah Building just like he always did.

As he sat at the corner of NW 4th Street and Broadway Avenue a few moments later, he felt something hit the back of his truck. He thought another car had smashed into him, but when he turned around to see what happened, there was nothing there.

That's when he noticed the dark smoke rising behind him.

He didn't know a Ryder truck packed with explosives had caused the concussive force that hit the back of his truck. He didn't know a terrorist attack unlike any other seen to that point on American soil had just happened. What he knew was that he had to get back to Evan.

He pulled into a parking lot and ran to the Y.

Todd arrived about the same time that the day care workers were bringing the kids outside. Many of them were bloodied and injured and terrified.

Evan never cried.

“Now, a lot of it might've been because I was right there,” Todd said. “I was holding him.”

The day care workers asked Todd to help one of Evan's classmates who was more severely injured and seemed to be in shock. They made their way to a couple of the triage centers set up near the bomb site, but all of them were packed with more critically injured victims.

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by Jenni Carlson
Reporter and Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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