You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

A heartfelt return to Boston for local running community

More than 250 Austin athletes joined thousands of others on Monday for the 2014 Boston Marathon, some finishing what they couldn’t last year, when two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three.

In the final two-tenths of a mile of the storied race, they passed a cluster of homemade crosses, a memorial to those who died. Once across the finish line, they hobbled gingerly along sidewalks and hugged friends and family.

“I started getting tears in my eyes coming down Boylston Street,” said Michael Woo, 51, who trained with Austin’s Gilbert’s Gazelles running group. “I tried to hold it back, but coming by the (bombing) sites I couldn’t.”

This year’s race marked Woo’s 25th marathon and seventh Boston Marathon. But this one was different.

He struggled because of the heat — temperatures rose above 60 at the finish — and he quickly dropped his plan to finish the race in less than three hours.

“My feet were burning by mile three, and I was dumping water on myself. I was in survival mode … the last 20 miles I just played defense,” he said. He said the crowds that packed the route cheering “USA, USA” and the handful of runners wearing shirts that identified them as survivors kept him going. “I wanted to do it for the families, the victims and the city. It was pretty special.”

David Schwalm, 46, of Austin, missed five weeks of training leading up to this year’s race due to injury. Still, he couldn’t stay away. He ran the race last year and organized a vigil in Austin to honor the victims of the bombings.

This year he thought of the tragedy as he covered the miles. “It was just emotional during the whole race,” he said. “There wasn’t even a thought of walking. You can’t let those people down.”

John Jertson, 26, of Austin, wore a white T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Baustin” to show his solidarity with the city.

“I think Boston did a very good job of reflecting on the past but moving forward,” Jertson said. He couldn’t believe the roar of the crowd all along the route. “I’ve been to concerts that weren’t as loud as this.”

As for his legs? Sore. “I feel like my dad, and he’s 83,” Jertson said.

Michael Madison, 29, has run the Boston Marathon twice before. This year, though, was the first time he saw metal detectors and police officers on rooftops at the start line.

“There’s no place like Boston,” he said. “Not a quarter-mile went by without someone cheering us on. You didn’t want to slow down because so many people were cheering for you.”

Kyle Endres, 29, a graduate student in government at the University of Texas, rubbed his sore quads as he waited for friends near the finish area.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said of the race.

As she struggled on a course made tougher by the heat, Gretchen Sanders, 33, thought of her coach’s advice from the day before. Steve Sisson, the co-owner of Rogue Running, reminded his group of more than 50 Austin athletes that they weren’t running as individuals or competing against each other, but running as part of something much bigger.

That helped Sanders, competing in her first Boston Marathon, push through the hard parts. She called the final stretch down Boylston the most spirited two-tenths of a mile she’d ever run.

“Amazing,” she said of the atmosphere. “That turn from Hereford to Boylston — you’ve been hearing about it for a year. To finally be on it … I think it’s got to be one of the greatest moments in sports.”

Sipping from a bottle of water, she winced a little with every step and tugged a disposable reflective blanket tight around her shoulders.

Then she said what many marathoners say in the painful hours immediately after their race: “I’m officially retiring from marathoning.”

They don’t all stick to that promise.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

THE FINAL FIVE: San Marcos city manager finalists are named
THE FINAL FIVE: San Marcos city manager finalists are named

The national search for San Marcos’ next city manager has produced five finalists — four of them relatively close to home. Strategic Government Resources, a firm hired to help the city with a nationwide search, received 55 applications from candidates in 21 states to succeed Jared Miller, who stepped down in January to become city...
EXCLUSIVE: Contract reveals final terms for Plaza Saltillo deal
EXCLUSIVE: Contract reveals final terms for Plaza Saltillo deal

Capital Metro would receive almost $19 million in rent over the first decade of what will be a century-long lease of the Plaza Saltillo tract in East Austin, according to a 400-page agreement the agency released to the American-Statesman this week under an open records request. The transit agency, which has owned the former rail yard just east of Interstate...
Man gets 40 years for Cedar Park break-in, assault attempt
Man gets 40 years for Cedar Park break-in, assault attempt

A man accused of trying to sexually assault a Cedar Park woman in a shower after breaking into her home in 2015 received two 40-year sentences Wednesday. Clarence Alexander Richardson, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault, according to a plea agreement. District Judge Donna King sentenced...
Suitcase found in storage unit could lead to 99 years in prison
Suitcase found in storage unit could lead to 99 years in prison

A man who lost his storage unit in Round Rock after not paying rent on it left behind notebooks that could lead to him spending up to 99 years in prison, according to an arrest affidavit. Ryan Dene Kyle, 32, of Pflugerville, was charged Wednesday with fraudulent possession of identifying information, a first-degree felony. The notebooks were filled...
BREAKING: Austin police make third arrest in rape case involving group of women
BREAKING: Austin police make third arrest in rape case involving group of women

Austin police have arrested a third man accused of robbing and raping a group of women who sought to buy marijuana from them, Austin police officials confirmed Thursday.  Emmanuel Grear, 20, is now in custody. A fourth suspect is still at large, officials said.  Grear was arrested in Corpus Christi, acording to a report from KVUE-TV...
More Stories