Last year, East Aurora teacher Sarah Scanlin ran her first Boston Marathon. The race was a milestone for the avid runner, who has pursued the sport since the age of 8.
Ten minutes after she crossed the finish line, however, the milestone memory was crushed.
A bomb went off near the finish line, parting the once enthusiastic crowd of spectators, and Scanlin’s experience of running the Boston Marathon was changed in an instant.
Which is why the assistant track and cross country coach is traveling back to Boston this week.
“I want to have a positive experience, that’s why I’m going back,” she said. “I’m going there to run a race. I’m not going to worry about other people doing stupid things.”
Her parents are more concerned about her safety than she is, Scanlin said. Although, she will be taking extra precautions this year.
Scanlin will run with her cell phone this time around, and has set up meeting places with those traveling with her, just in case history repeats itself.
“This year, there are a lot more people running,” she said. “I feel like there will be a lot more spectators, too. People are going to show their support. We’re going to prove that people doing things like [the bombing] won’t stop a runner; won’t stop the sport. Runners are very strong willed people.”
Still, the experience of 2013’s tragedy will stick with her forever.
“It was a really emotional experience,” she said. “It hit me hard…I really want to do well this year. While I was training, I kept thinking about [the bombings], and that pushed me to put more into it.”