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Cari and Rick Yerkes came to OKC to finish what they started

by Jenni Carlson Published: April 28, 2013

Running down Broadway Avenue toward the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finish line, Cari Yerkes found herself thinking about another street.

“This is what Boylston would've felt like,” she thought.

Boylston Street, the world now knows, is where the Boston Marathon has its finish line. Two weeks ago, it was filled with cheers and music and celebration just like Oklahoma City's was Sunday.

Then a pair of bombs went off.

Yerkes was running Boston and about to make the turn onto Boylston for the final stretch of the race when the blasts occurred. She was one of the thousands of runners who were still on the course and couldn't finish the race.

Sunday, she and husband, Rick, came to Oklahoma City to finish what they started in Boston.

On a day when nearly 25,000 runners filled the streets of Oklahoma City, each of them ran for a different reason. But Cari and Rick Yerkes were among a small group of runners who ran to complete what they couldn't in Boston.

The Memorial Marathon extended an offer: any Boston runner who didn't finish because of the bombings could come run Oklahoma City for free.

Ten runners accepted the invitation.

Cari and Rick Yerkes didn't have to think long about doing it.

They had actually considered coming to Oklahoma City before Boston. They had friends who planned to run Oklahoma City as a tribute to a family member who had died, and Cari and Rick were thinking about making the trip from their Milwaukee home to offer their support.

After Boston, though, they weren't so sure.

“There's no way we're going to Oklahoma City now,” they said. “We're not going there.”

But only two days later, one of their friends showed them an article about the offer of free registration. The offer touched their hearts.

“Well,” Cari said to Rick, “do you want to do it?”

They'd never run marathons within two weeks of each other. They weren't sure how their bodies would hold up or what their times would be. But the more they talked, the less any of that seemed to matter.

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by Jenni Carlson
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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