Locals react to Boston Marathon bombing

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amie James, director of Beaumont’s Gusher Marathon, was driving around Austin with her husband, Richard, when she first heard about the bombs that wreaked havoc at the Boston Marathon’s finish line on Monday.

“This is absolutely abhorrent behavior; These are people who help each other and run for causes,” James said. “To attack a running, especially one that is so famous for helping people, is horrible.”

Three people  from Southeast Texas ran the 116th annual marathon Monday. Joseph Frazier, 27, and Daniel Villarreal, 29, both of Beaumont and Amanda Britnell, 30, of Orange were unharmed after the two bombs went off, according to local news reports.

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“I didn’t realize it was as serious as it was when we were in the car,” James said. “I didn’t realize there were actual bomb explosions — I thought perhaps there was something going on in the city.”

The bombings, which killed three people including an 8-year-old child, injured more than 140 runners and spectators.

“It’s such a juxtaposition with a running event, which aims to spread positivity,” she said. “I think it’s a terrible state for our national security that something so positive can fall victim to such heinousness.”

James said that the beauty of a marathon is that onlookers can participate and cheer on the runners.

“I think of how it’s going to change for next year and how it’s going to impact marathons in general,” she said.

Unlike smaller marathons like the Gusher which are open to anyone who wants to register, the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle for long-distance runners and they must qualify to participate.

“People work so hard to get to the event and it’s not an easy feat. This is their dream and it’s their moment of a lifetime and to have it marred by this sort of act — words cannot express how terrible that is,” James said.

Several runners from local running clubs will honor the victims who were injured and killed during the blasts.

Amber Oleksy, a teacher and coach at Port Neches-Groves High School, organized the “silent run” on Facebook.

“I know it isn’t much, but I think I’d like to do a silent run, a mile for each person who senselessly lost their life today either running or cheering on those who were,” Oleksy wrote on Facebook.

Oleksy qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon last weekend at the Dallas Marathon.

The run/walk will start at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of PN-G High School across from the fire station at the corner of Magnolia and Avenue D.

James appreciates the fact that she still feels “free to go run” whenever she wants.

“I don’t want to lose that safety feeling,” she said.

Email: jgarcia@panews.com

Twitter: @julesbmt