BOSTON (CBS) – The family of bombing victim and Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi was given 15 marathon bibs. Some of those have gone to runners with connections to the university. Two are from China. Another has a daughter Lu’s age and yet another had just finished the race when the first bomb went off last year.
To donate: Lu Lingzi Memorial Fund
“I had beaten my pace something like 15 minutes which was great for me and all of that became irrelevant you know the second after everything happened,” said Dan Mercurio, a BU grad who now works for BU Athletics. His second time running the marathon, Mercurio crossed the finish line less than 30 seconds before the first blast. “I’m running because I feel like I owe it to BU, I owe it to the Lu family to honor Lingzi and her legacy and really to get back to some normalcy in the city,” he said. “I think it’s important that we all kind of get the marathon to be what it is and it’s the best day of the year in this city.”
“I was there, but I was not at the finish line,” said fellow team member, Baiyun Yao. She had made it home from watching the marathon safely, but remembers feeling bad when she learned another Chinese graduate student, Lu, did not. “Personally, I didn’t know Lingzi, but we share of similarities. We share a lot of common friends and also, we are both Chinese girls and we are only family, only child in the family,” Yao said. Yao and her fellow teammates were chosen from more than 200 applications to run in Lu’s honor.
Also training for this team is Ryan Shea, a 2011 graduate of BU. With his application, he submitted a video documenting his reaction to the bombings. On April 16th, he went to the gym and ended up running 26 and a half miles. The video shows his journey that day. “I just wanted to do something that would help… or maybe help donation efforts for those who were hurt…or those families that were impacted so much by what happened,” Shea said. He’s now able to help even more.
The group isn’t bound by fundraising minimums or qualifying times, but members are hoping to raise significant amounts for a scholarship fund which will now be a part of a non-profit foundation set up by the Lu family. You can read more here.
Related: Lu Lingzi Non-Profit
The team also includes a marathon instructor, Jennifer Carter-Battaglino who didn’t know Lu, but wishes she had. “I’m getting to know more about her which is really special for me. I have a daughter who just turned 24 yesterday actually and I think that it hits home for me knowing that Lingzi passed away and as an only child,” Carter-Battaglino said. She’s honored to be able to run for Lu. “The fact that her family gave those numbers to BU so we could honor her is just an amazing experience for us all,” she said.
“I thought it was the most fitting opportunity for me to kind of finish the race,” added Shuheng Lin, also a graduate student from China and also running on Team Lu. Like Lu, Lin and Yao came to the United States to finish their education. They’ll finish theirs and run a grueling marathon for her. “I want to finish the journey she didn’t because we all come here to pursue our dreams,” Yao said.
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