Despite emotions, many still want to run in Oklahoma City marathon

We reached out to runners who plan to participate in the Memorial Marathon. We wanted to know how they felt about running Oklahoma City after what happened in Boston. Of the runners who we talked with, their emotions were varied, but their plans were resolute. They want to run the Memorial Marathon.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombing continues to reverberate. Beyond the East Coast, nowhere are the shock waves felt more than Oklahoma City.

In a city that endured its own heinous act of terrorism, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum officials spent Tuesday still grappling with what to do about the Memorial Marathon on April 28. Should everything remain the same? Should changes be made? Should it be run at all? Those remain questions without answers.

But on a day that the world started to come to grips with what happened Monday near the finish line in Boston, we reached out to runners who plan to participate in the Memorial Marathon. We wanted to know how they felt about running Oklahoma City after what happened in Boston.

Of the runners who we talked with, their emotions were varied, but their plans were resolute. They want to run the Memorial Marathon.

Alex Stone, Norman

Alex Stone, 31, plans to run the half-marathon while his wife, Adrienne, plans to run the marathon. Married just last week, the couple have devised an emergency plan for race day in light of what happened in Boston.

Our emergency plan is fairly simple but should be effective.

We will use email, as data typically seems to be the last cellular service affected in a crisis. We will register with Red Cross to let each other and our families know we are OK. We have also agreed on an out-of-state relative to act as a coordinator, since out-of-state calls seem to have better reliability in a crisis than in-state calling. We have agreed on primary and secondary personal meeting points within walking distance but far enough away to not pose a danger.

We have also discussed worst-case scenarios, what kind of medical treatment we would like should something happen to either of us. Kind of morbid, but still good to know the other's wishes.

There is a little fear, mostly due to related events and time frame, but we are not going to let that fear sway us but instead drive a better personal plan of action in case of the worst.

We are both in agreement that (what happened in Boston) does make us nervous, but it also makes us determined. While it does place a seed of doubt, running will also show our determination and show that we won't let events like Boston hamper our spirit. We celebrate and honor those in Boston by continuing the running tradition.

I find the name of our marathon especially fitting, that a race born out of honoring those affected by one terrorist event, will now be honoring those of another.

Bill Phillips, Rose Hill, Kan.

The 55-year-old plans to run his first marathon in Oklahoma City. He started running distances a few years ago after more than three decades away from running.

My feelings about running OKC have not wavered. If anything they have intensified. I've never been affected by such a horrific event, so my resolve is based on my confidence in those who are there to protect us. I will thank as many of them as I can during the race, and hopefully by running and finishing the race.

I trust that the people overseeing the race will do what's right and that if they feel it will be safe to run, then it will be safe.

My advice to others would be to trust your own feelings and instincts and do what makes you feel comfortable.

Eric Epperson, Joplin, Mo.

Oklahoma City was where the Eric Epperson, 31, ran his first marathon three years ago. The native Oklahoman plans to run the half-marathon this year.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
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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