Local runners ‘hit close’ by Boston tragedy

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comApril 22, 2013 

— As far as Achilles injuries go, Julie Odoms may be suffering from one of the more fortunate ones. Odoms, 40, was bib number 18241 for the 117th Boston Marathon. The Lake Wylie wife and mom decided days before the April 16 race to stay home and nurse an injury she originally planned to run through. Instead, she heard the news of the Boston tragedy from a distance.

As far as Achilles injuries go, Julie Odoms may be suffering from one of the more fortunate ones.

Odoms, 40, was bib number 18241 for the 117th Boston Marathon. The Lake Wylie wife and mom decided days before the April 16 race to stay home and nurse an injury she originally planned to run through. Instead, she heard the news from a distance, that two explosions at the finish line killed three and injured more than 100, according to national reports.

“It is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon,” read a statement from Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Thomas Grilk. “What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.”

Odoms told the Lake Wylie Pilot she was home and safe following the incident, but was unavailable to discuss the incident further by press time. News hit home throughout the area. In addition to Odoms, entrants included five runners from Fort Mill and two from Tega Cay. Another 34 came from Charlotte, three from Gastonia, N.C., and one from Belmont, N.C.

“I just want to thank everyone for the support and prayers!” Belmont resident Jason Meulemans posted on his Facebook page around 8 p.m. on race day. “I am okay and was not injured. Please pray for the deceased and injured and their families! They need your support.”

Fort Mill runner Demi Clark, who’s been featured in numerous national media outlets since, crossed the finish line within seconds of the blasts. The Charlotte Observer reported multiple injuries for one Charlotte resident and nearby accounts of the explosions from several others.

Runners back home started responding any way they could. Nearly 100 gathered at a football stadium in Fort Mill the same night. By day’s end, plans for a memorial run already developed back home in Lake Wylie.

As of press time Friday, Lake Wylie Running Club expected at least a dozen of its members to set out the following day from the local YMCA and head to the Three Points intersection and back, some repeating the roughly six-mile course. They planned to wear black to honor the dead or injured in Boston.

“Many of us have run our own marathons and this hit close to our hearts,” said member Holly Armstrong. “A small gesture but one of the few ways we can visibly show our grief and respect for those lost.”

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