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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Boston tragedy adds another layer of meaning to OKC race

by Jenni Carlson Published: April 28, 2013

Adam Cohen's eyes were red after he crossed the finish line at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Hard to tell if it was from sweat or emotion.

Maybe a little of both.

He ran the Boston Marathon two weeks ago and had long since finished his race when bombs exploded at the finish line. The Norman resident was planning to run Oklahoma City before the bombing.

“But then in light of what happened in Boston,” he said, “it really strengthened my resolve.”

What happened in Boston added another layer of meaning to a race already steeped with significance. As one of the first major marathons in the United States since the bombings, Oklahoma City's race became a day to remember not only the 168 victims of the Murrah Building bombing but also those killed and injured in Boston.

Many of the nearly 25,000 runners wore tributes to Boston. There were lots of Red Sox hats and shirts. There were a few Bruins and Celtics shirts. There were even a few specially made shirts.

“Running for OKC. Running for Boston. Running for Peace,” one read.

“Yankee fan running for Boston,” another said.

But the most obvious Boston tributes were the red socks. Wearing red socks in honor of the Boston victims was an idea hatched by Oklahoma City resident Andrea Miles, and it caught fire.

Among those wearing red socks was women's marathon race winner McKale Davis, who finished in 2:53:30. Hers were pulled all the way up to her knees.

She said she had a ton of friends who were running Boston two weeks ago, but she wore red socks more because of her mother.

“My mom is known ... as the best spectator in Oklahoma,” said Davis, a Fairfax native who is soon to receive her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State. “(The finish line) is where she would've been. That hit me pretty hard.”

Because of the Boston bombings, security was beefed up for the Memorial Marathon. Race officials reported no problems on the course.

The same could be said for much of the day.

“Our numbers are as high as they've ever been,” Oklahoma City National Memorial executive director Kari Watkins said.

All told, there were 24,752 runners from 47 states.

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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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