Cambrians who have run Boston Marathon react to bombing

Neither were there this year; both horrified, ponder 'what ifs'

ssullivan@thetribunenews.comApril 16, 2013 

Race records don’t show any runners from Cambria in this year’s Boston Marathon, but a pair of past participants were there in spirit, especially after two bombs killed three Monday, April 15. The first thoughts of both were not about what would have happened to them if it had happened when they were there; they thought of what would have happened to loved ones.

Abel Martinez of Cambria ran the Boston Marathon in 2008. His wife, Toni, sat in the VIP stands by the finish line, about where the first explosion occurred.

That memory replayed itself in Martinez’s mind over and over as he watched the images and videos on his television.

“We were right in that spot,” he said, adding that the bombing was “beyond tragic, very sad,” and his thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

Debbie Markham, of Debbie Markham Photography in Cambria, ran the marathon in 2011. She considers the event “incomprehensible.”

“To shockingly have your life changed in a second like that, I can’t imagine how awful that would be,” she said.

Markham has two children, 10 and 12 years old, who she considered bringing to the marathon two years ago.

“It still makes me sick to think about it,” she said.

Neither Martinez nor Markham knew anyone in this year’s race, but Markham said she received about 20 texts within an hour after news broke of the bombing from people asking if she was running again.

Martinez wore his Boston Marathon T-shirt on Tuesday as a “tribute for those that survived, those whose lives were taken and those who went through the fear and anguish,” he said. 

Martinez has run marathons in many places over the years, including Big Sur, Los Angeles, and Dublin, Ireland, but the Boston Marathon is in a league of its own, he said.

“The electricity, excitement, the festivity, the colors, you can feel it,” Martinez said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Markham ran in the California International Marathon in Sacramento to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She said Boston is the best marathon she has ever run for and the spectators and runners were very supportive.

The marathon is well known for being a patriotic event, she said. “My heart goes out to them so much.”

Follow The Cambrian on Twitter at @TheCambrian.

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