PROUD TO BE A PART OF THIS. THE MENTION IN THE ARTICLE DOESN’T HURT EITHER!
By Andy Fillmore
Published: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
OCALA — Runners fanned out across southeast Ocala well before dawn Saturday, walking, jogging and running in a show of support for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and two Ocala residents entered in the 2014 running of the iconic event on Monday.
The display of solidarity with fellow runners included contributions to the One Fund Boston made through a virtual running website by many of the participants.
“We’re all runners,” said Amy Sampson, 41, as she strode down Southeast Lake Weir Avenue as part of the group of 41 participants aged 14 to 67 from several runners’ clubs and independent runners who set out to cover distances from three to 13-plus miles.
Lisa Iketani, 50, entrant number 21702, and Chuck Trombly, 54, number 14822, both of Ocala, are entered to run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday.
Iketani and Trombly were represented by stick figures affectionately held by fellow runners at a gathering before the run, which included a runner’s prayer by Teresa Billingsley.
The two Ocala runners arrived in Boston Saturday morning.
“About 36,000 are expected to run Monday. My personal goal is about three hours, 20 minutes for the marathon,” said Trombly, principal of Sunrise Elementary, in a phone interview along with Iketani from Boston Saturday afternoon.
Iketani said security in Boston appeared to be “a good job.”
“It doesn’t seem tense. It’s friendly,” said Iketani, a physical education teacher with Marion Virtual School of the Marion County school system.
Trombly said a “welcoming environment” surrounded pre-marathon memorials and an event for those who were stopped “at 25.7 miles last year,” which he estimated at about 5,000 runners.
Angela Danford, one of the Ocala event organizers, ran with her daughter Katrina Danford, 20, and husband Andrew Danford.
“Andrew and I are planning on running in the Boston Marathon in 2015,” Angela Danford said in a later phone interview.
Angel Craig, who also helped put together the morning run, said her brother was running in a similar supportive event in Atlanta on Saturday.
Robin Hastad, another organizer, was accompanied by her daughter Kristyne and son Wayne.
Sage Guerrant, 14, the youngest Ocala entrant, was running in her first 10K event, while Holly Alexander, 67, a retired microbiologist and triathlete from Citrus County, planned to run at least nine miles Saturday. Alexander regularly competes in high endurance and Olympic distance events and will compete in a half-marathon Sunday in Clermont.
Runner Jay Sandhouse, 56, drove from Coral Springs to join the Ocala run. David Keene brought along his dog Zephyr.
Many of the runners wore flashing lights for safety while Sachiko Leon wore a Tracer 360 with shoulder light tubes and a large back-mounted light, which made her visible to vehicular traffic.
Participant Judy Slack made T-shirts for several runners highlighting the group’s support for Boston.
Dave Fechtman said the about 6.2 miles he covered Saturday consisted of “13,107 steps,” according to an electronic counter he wore.
Additional participants included Crystal Watkins, Mary Ponder, Dr. Scott Goldstein, Sharon Rudder, Jennifer Gilman, Donita Hearns and Clyde Williams.
A number of the participants in Saturday’s event also entered the We Stand for Boston Virtual Run on the Will Run for Bling and Charity website (www.willrunforbling.com ), a site that conducts virtual race events and provides “bling” or commemorative medals for entrants.
“We’ve have a picture of an Ocala group on our Facebook page. Florida and Georgia had the most entrants, with Texas third. We had entrants from Germany, Canada and Great Britain. Over 1,000 have entered (to date) ,” said Regina Jackson with Will Run for Bling and Charity.
The website organizers will contribute to the One Fund Boston from the entry fees, which are listed on the website as $25 per runner early entry and $30 after March 15.
The entry fee includes a We Stand with Boston medal. A second round has been set up, due to response, Jackson said.