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Kevin Schnepf, Published April 22 2013

Schnepf: Nashville runner ready to help Fargo honor Boston

Fargo

When Diane Bolton runs in next month’s Fargo Marathon, she admits Mile 25 will be difficult. She knows it will conjure up memories of Mile 25 at last week’s Boston Marathon.

“I still hear sirens in my head,” said Bolton, a 51-year-old marathoner from Nashville, Tenn., who did not hear the explosions of the two bombs that shook downtown Boston and the world.

She just passed the Mile 25 marker and was about to turn on Boylston Street when bicycle police stopped her and hundreds of other runners in their tracks. Her uncertainty quickly turned to fear when someone yelled: “Two bombs exploded at the finish line.”

Bolton’s husband was waiting for her at the finish line.

“I was thinking blown-up buildings, picturing the worst-case scenario … wondering where my husband was,” said Bolton, who nearly 30 minutes later found out her husband was OK. “He felt it, he saw it, he could smell what he thought was gunpowder.”

More than one week later, the running community around the world has united. Bolton experienced it firsthand in marathons she ran in at Olathe, Kan., last Saturday and at Marion, Iowa, Sunday – where runners displayed the 4-15-13 date on their shorts, images of Boston taped to their shirts and Boston Red Sox hats proudly donned on their heads.

So on Monday when Bolton saw on Facebook what the Fargo Marathon was going to do to honor Boston, she quickly let everyone know she will be there – ready to sign the 4-foot high and 15-foot long banner that will be hanging in the Fargodome lobby and ready to purchase a wristband that will be sold for $2, with profits donated to a fund set up for the victims of the bombings.

“United We Run. Fargo Loves Boston,” the blue lettering will read on the yellow wristbands. Blue and yellow are the official colors of the Boston Marathon.

“I think it’s fabulous,” Bolton said. “I’m just so glad to see everybody coming together to support all the victims of the Boston bombings.”

Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson said 20,000 wristbands have been ordered. The signed banner will be sent to Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray.

“It’s a show of solidarity and a show of support from the running community … and a little bit of a celebration,” Knutson said, referring to the capture of the second of two brothers accused of setting off the bombs.

Any other year, Bolton would be concentrating on her goal to run in 200 marathons. Boston was supposed to be 195. She will probably reach 200 at a marathon in Maine – about a week before Fargo.

Bolton is also one of those runners who has run a marathon in all 50 states. In fact, when she runs Fargo, it will mark the second time she has run every state.

But from now on, every marathon she runs will bring up memories of Boston – especially at Mile 25, just as it did last weekend in Kansas and Iowa.

“If I would have been in that wave of runners ahead of me, I could’ve have easily been at the finish line when those bombs exploded,” Bolston said. “That will be with me for quite some time.”

Nonetheless, if she can make it, she will run next year’s Boston Marathon.

“Fortunately for me, the images I can hang on to and cherish from Boston is the one old gentleman coming out with a pitcher of water after we had to stop,” Bolston said. “I was amazed at the generosity of the people … the unity of everybody.”

Just as the words that will be displayed on the Fargo Marathon wristbands: “United We Run.”


Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

or kschnepf@forumcomm.com