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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Stories from the finish line

The act of crossing the finish line meant something to every one of the 25,000 runners at this year's Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It always does, but this year it meant more.
by Ed Godfrey and Ryan Aber Published: April 29, 2013

The act of crossing the finish line meant something to every one of the 25,000 runners at this year's Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

It always does, but this year it meant more.

For some, the line meant the blessed end. For others, the line stood in between them and a personal best record. For many, thoughts of Boston crossed their mind about what a finish line stood for two weeks ago: destruction and terror.

That's not what it became for Oklahoma City on Sunday for the 13th annual marathon. It became a line in the sand — between fear and faith. It became a line between the rear view mirror and the road to recovery. It became a healing line.

But for these following runners, the line meant Boston was one more group of people to add to the list of why Oklahomans race to remember.

Andrew Longoria

Andrew Longoria bent forward and wept.

The runner from Medway, Mass., stepped over Oklahoma City's finish line seconds before.

His wife, race officials and a film crew immediately surrounded him. A shorter man of sturdy build wearing a blue Boston Marathon shirt, he was slightly out of breath. He'd just completed the OKC marathon, less than two weeks after he was 300 yards away from the finish line when two bombs exploded.

He was one of the thousands who didn't finish the Boston Marathon that was invited by the Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation to finish the race free of an entry fee.

When he finished, emotions overwhelmed him. He stood hugging his supporters, and his wife held his hand. Then he began to well up with tears when Oklahoma City Bombing survivor Amy Downs placed a finisher medal over his head. They embraced.

“It was very easy,” Longoria said of crossing the finish line. “It was after that it was hard to contain myself.”

Race volunteers congratulated him and patted him on the back.

“I needed to finish,” Longoria said.

He crossed the line in 4 hours, 20 minutes and 46 seconds.

Adele Pitt 

Adele Pitt dropped to her knees and gave the pavement a quick kiss.

“I'm so excited to get through the finish line,” Pitt said.

Two weeks ago, she didn't get that chance.

The 62-year-old from Wisconsin was just more than a half-mile from the finish line when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon.

When she found out the Oklahoma City event was offering free entries to runners who weren't able to finish in Boston, she jumped at the chance.

Pitt was familiar with the marathon, having run the half in Oklahoma City in 2010.

“The people here are so friendly, and the memorial is the most moving memorial I've ever been to,” Pitt said. “So two days later, I decided I was coming to Oklahoma City.”

It was an emotional finish for Pitt, who said she was more tired than normal after running her second marathon in two weeks.

“To not be able to get to the finish line in Boston was just crushing,” Pitt said. “To train through a terrible Milwaukee winter and not get to finish was tough.”

by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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