BOSTON (CBS) – This year’s Boston Marathon will boast the second largest field ever. Spectators will cheer for experienced marathoners and first-timers. Two runners at opposite ends of that spectrum, one veteran and one newcomer, are both raising money for bombing survivors and replacing the horror of last year with an achievement from the heart.
Watertown native Joanie Kelly made her case in writing for a spot on the One Fund team. “The Boston Marathon is special,” Kelly says. “It was and will always be my marathon.” For the 11-time marathoner, the One Fund team was the perfect fit.
“If it couldn’t hit any closer to home, it literally did,” Kelly said in her letter to the One Fund. “I was one of the houses searched in Watertown days later. The officers who responded were not law enforcement to me. They were Joe, John and Eddy. Guys I knew from town.”
“The SWAT vehicles come up and they’re parked in my driveway,” Kelly recalls. “You’re just watching it saying ‘I don’t know where he is but I hope they get him. And I hope they get him soon.’”
She trains on the very streets where officers tracked down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“I just want people to embrace the marathon and celebrate it for what it is,” Kelly says. “There is only one Boston and it does it right.”
And the crowds? “I think this year they are also taking the streets back as well and saying, ‘this is the way it’s supposed to be.’”
But one longtime spectator won’t be cheering this year. He’ll be running. Winthrop native Bob Andy was devastated by the attacks.
“I just kept looking at my kids saying, ‘what would I do if that was me?’ That could have been me with my kids standing there,” Andy says.
He told his kids and his wife Meeghan he had to do something.
“After a few days, it just came to me. I said ‘you know what? I’m going to run that marathon. That’s what I’m going to do!’”
“I thought he was a little crazy at first,” his wife says.
He started with a 5k working up to a half-marathon in September. This year, he’ll run his first Boston Marathon also for the One Fund.
“I’m not doing it just for my self-satisfaction anymore,” Andy says. “I’m helping people; I’m helping some amazing people as a matter of fact. So when I get tired or feel like I’ve got to stop, I say I can’t stop. I’ve got a job to do.”
That job involves logging long miles in an even longer winter. With a goal he and Joanie share with nearly 36,000 other runners.
“When I run I kind of visualize what it’s going to be like coming across that finish line,” Andy says.
“It’s hallowed ground for me,” Kelly says. “That turn is one of the happiest places on earth.”
Andy is excited for his kids to see him cross the finish line on Boylston Street. “That will make it all worth it,” he says. “One time in my life. I’m going to do something amazing. It’s going to be amazing.”
A triumph as personal as last year’s pain.
“I am Boston strong, Watertown proud,” Kelly says.
The One Fund team has already raised more than $500,000 for bombing survivors. To donate visit OneFundBoston.org.
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