Suncoast runners anxious to compete in Boston again

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Runners are resilient, and the Boston Marathon bombing proved they can overcome adversity. ABC 7 talked with two Suncoast runners who are looking forward to taking part in next week's race.

Holly Johnson loves running. “It is my peaceful place, it is where I am in the moment. Where I can just leave anything and just be caught up in the moment.”

She will run her 20th marathon next week when she competes in the Boston Marathon.  “It has been kind of a two year goal to have my twentieth marathon done on the twentieth anniversary of my first Boston Marathon.”

Johnson crossed the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon about 15 minutes before the first bomb exploded. She was trying to make it back to the finish line but gave up because of the heavy crowd.

“If I had made it back to the finish line I would have been there when the bombs went off.”

As it turns out, she was about a half mile away when the first bomb detonated.  “Then I heard the second one and I went, 'you know, this just doesn’t sound good.'  And it just kind of got quiet and then the security guards just started asking people to just clear out the area, turn off their cell phones.”

Johnson says she was impressed with how the community and the entire country rallied around Boston and she is looking forward to this year’s race.  "I can’t even imagine what it is going to be like. I’m excited, it is going to be hugely emotional but it is all going to be channeled in the right way.”

“I think the finish line is going to be the safest place in all of Boston,” says Kyle Donovan. He is the manager of Fleet Feet store on South Osprey Avenue and will run his second Boston Marathon next week. Donovan said he is anticipating a feeling of camaraderie by runners and spectators at the race.  “You will have a lot of people cheering everyone on and just kind of being there and experiencing the moment of just realizing that no matter what happens, people are going to come back. It is not going to break anyone’s spirit.”

There is always a big crowd in Boston the day of the marathon but this year the crowd will be even bigger. Race organizers increased the size of the race by 9000, inviting back everyone who did not get to finish last year’s race. Boston is expecting nearly a million spectators to line the 26-mile course and cheer the runners on.

Here on the Suncoast, you can show your support for Boston by taking part in a free Run For Boston 5k hosted by New Balance Sarasota located at 1872 Stickney Point Road. The run starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 19. Runners and walkers of all ages and invited to participate and show their support for Boston by wearing blue and yellow colors to celebrate the Boston Marathon and its history in running.

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