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Runners still interested in participating in marathons

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 11:54 p.m.

Dr. Stanley Zaslau had reached mile 18 of the Boston Marathon when Red Cross workers came on the course to stop the race. Zaslau, 46, of Mt. Lebanon, walked 9 miles to get back to his Copley Square hotel.Monday was a traumatic day, and Zaslau was grateful to arrive safely back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning.

Yet, despite the two bombs that went off seconds apart near the finish line in Boston, killing three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured more than 170 others, the West Virginia University physician said he has no plans to stop running big-city marathons, beginning with his next race in Chicago this fall.

“It's very special to run big events like Boston,” said Zaslau, who was running to raise money for the American Medical Athletic Association. “I'll think twice about it now, but I'll still do it.”

Marathons aren't just for elite athletes.

They have steadily increased in popularity among recreational runners and those raising money for charity. In the aftermath of Monday's attack, which President Barack Obama called an act of terrorism, some marathons heard from runners wondering whether races would be canceled.

Nearly 40 events all over the globe are set for this weekend alone — including Hamburg, Belgrade, Salt Lake City, Lansing, Mich., and the Jersey Shore. There was no indication that any would be called off.

The Pittsburgh Marathon also will go on as scheduled May 5.

Jackie Jones, 34, of Regent Square wore her 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon shirt Tuesday as a show of support. She is registered for the full marathon this year and still plans to run.

“The Pittsburgh Marathon is my favorite race,” Jones said. “I'm not going to stop, and I don't think other runners are going to stop.”

Jones has told her family, however, that she doesn't want them waiting for her at the finish line.

“I'd rather my family be safe and not even come, to be quite honest,” she said.

Across social media, many runners were looking for ways to support Boston, whether by wearing ribbons or T-shirts on race day to looking for ways to raise money for the victims.

Lesleigh Hutchins, 33, of Monroeville has been training with co-workers and said they plan to wear blue and yellow — the colors of the Boston Marathon — May 5.

“As runners we all have bucket lists, and Boston was one of mine,” said Hutchins, who will run the Pittsburgh half marathon. “This event makes me feel like I have to do it. I feel like I can prove to myself I can do it and prove that no matter what, things keep moving forward.”

At the True Runner store in Shadyside, manager Dave Graham said customers were talking about what happened in Boston. Yet Graham saw no evidence of runners fearing something similar happening during the Pittsburgh Marathon.

“A month from now will probably be the safest marathon that will ever happen,” said Graham, 27. “There will be more security, more checks; it will kind of be like flying after 9/11 with a higher level of awareness as opposed to before when no one was thinking about it. And I think it will make things more secure going forward.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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