Gorman: Boston runners compete in Pittsburgh Marathon to prove terrorism can't win
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Sunday, May 5, 2013, 7:57 p.m.
There was something personal for Conrad Quesen about the timing of the first explosion at the Boston Marathon.
When a homemade bomb exploded at the 4:09.43 mark of the race, it held added significance for Quesen. That's about when he has crossed the finish line in six previous marathons.
“When it happened, I thought, ‘That's my time,'” said Quesen, 41, of Squirrel Hill. “I thought about it earlier then said, ‘Screw that!' I'm not going to let it enter my mind.”
Quesen ran the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday wearing a black tank top with a unicorn with a teardrop — a nod to the Boston Athletic Association logo — on the front and #runforboston on the back.
Thirty thousand people ran for Boston and beyond at the Pittsburgh Marathon. They ran to honor the three victims who were murdered and hundreds more maimed by two explosions last month. They ran to qualify for the 118th Boston Marathon next year. They ran to prove that they could, and to prove a terroristic act can't stop them.
“Marathons these days are more for the average people,” Quesen said. “All you need to be a runner is a pair of shoes. To me, the marathon is about unity. They weren't targeting anybody in particular. They were targeting everybody.”
No one dared duplicate the cowardice of the two brothers who left bombs on Boston's Boylston Street. Not with the increased presence of police and military in Pittsburgh.
That didn't stop the runners who finished in 4:09.43 and shortly after from reflecting on how it could have happened to them if the Boston bombers had instead picked Pittsburgh.
Still, Michelle Adams was surprised when spectators were kept away from the starting line, a strange feeling for the runners.
“There were tears during the moment of silence and national anthem,” said Adams, 39, of Gainesville, Fla. “I tried not to cry as I was running, seeing all the ‘Pittsburgh loves Boston' and ‘Boston is in our hearts' signs.”
Adams wore her Boston Marathon bib on the back of her shirt. She finished that race less than 30 minutes before the explosions.
“We can't live in fear,” Adams said. “That's what they want us to do.”
Nothing was going to stop Patricia Murdock from cheering on her daughter, Nicole, about 100 yards from the finish line on the Boulevard of the Allies. About the same spot where backpacks with bombs were left on Boylston.
“I thought of it as soon as we stood there,” said Patricia Murdock of Punxsutawney. “It was in my head all day. I prayed, ‘Please God, let everything be good today.' ”
It was, especially after Mary Lou Stockdale ran onto the course to encourage her struggling niece. Stockdale's son, Franklin, ran barefoot alongside Nicole for about a half-mile.
As she neared Stanwix Street, a re-energized Nicole smiled and waved to those holding handmade signs. She called seeing them at the end of the race “the best pick-me-up.”
“It was pretty scary to think anything could ever happen,” said Nicole, 28. “I'm proud of them for being there.”
Almost as proud as they were of her and the other runners, for putting 26.2 miles and any fears from Boston behind them.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- Duquesne schools, community leaders look for student connection
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator
- McKeesport Area art class goes global to find Santa
- Alle-Kiski Valley schools better statewide scores
- Power play, penalty kill help put Penguins on another 100-point pace
- Obama administration asking insurers to be flexible on health coverage
- ProStart primes student chefs for best kitchen jobs
- Some bargains improve once tree comes down
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol