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Finishing What They Started

April 20, 2014, 10:00 PM by Brittany Larson

Finishing What They Started

Once again, all eyes will be on Boston tomorrow as the City will embrace and encourage 30,000 runners along the 26.2 mile course all the way to the finish line.

It's that moment of triumph many runners have visualized throughout their training, including some local athletes here in Sioux Falls.

"Sometimes it's one quarter mile at a time or I just try to take one mile at a time and enjoy the moment," Avid runner, Ruth Ann Venrick said.

With, every step, every minute and every mile, these avid runners and marathon veterans rack up their time spent on the pavement.

"It feels like a second job," Waldera said.

It's a job that takes a lot of discipline to form a routine.

"It's a labor of love, and if I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it" Waldera said.

To some the training may sound like a daunting task to endure. But in the end, these runners say the difficult workout regimen pays off.

"It's tough starting out. And this winter was really, really brutal. So it was a lot harder this winter I would say to get up and train say 5am but once you see your efforts pay off it's really worth it," Mike Rutten said. 

"I don't think there was really any doubt that I would go back," Ruth Ann Venrick said.

Venrick has completed six marathons. Monday will mark her seventh. She is part of the group of 9,000 runners that were stopped on the course after the bombs went off last April.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be invited back and to do this and to finish it and we call it unfinished business," Venrick said.

With more than 25 miles under her belt, her goal of crossing the finishing line came to a sudden halt.

"I was about a half a mile from the finish line last year, when the bombs went off. And we were physically stopped. You know just ran into the person ahead of us,” Venrick said.

It was moment of confusion that quickly turned into panic for both spectators and runners.

"Everyone was kind of stunned and kind of perplexed about what was going on. And then when the second bomb went off everyone realized immediately that it as a terrorist attack it was a bomb," Waldera said.

"It was cold, we were tired and everyone stopped their watches and stopped their time… kind of like are they going to adjust this time you know because I don't want it to be added to my time. A lot of people didn't speak English around me we all kind of huddled to stay warm and heard a lot of sirens and saw a lot of ambulances and trucks," Venrick said.

One year later, it's still hard to comprehend some of the horrific events that occurred.

"To have something like this happen, people were just walking around like zombies for the next 24 hours in Boston and then when we came back home here it was just a lot to process it really was," Venrick said.
Venrick admits when she started running again this year for the Boston Marathon she didn't always have to train alone.

"I have had a lot of support and a lot of help. My running partners have been with me in this cold dark icy long winter," Venrick said.

It's that support which will help her overcome her fears.

"The first place I have to go is that I have to visualize that place where I was stopped. And I have to picture myself going past there because when I picture it, it kind of takes my breath away," Venrick said.

But it's all downhill after that.

"If I can bend down, I might kiss the finish line but my hamstrings will probably be too sore to do that," Venrick said.

Many other runners share her same enthusiasm.

"I love running and to be able to do it one weekend where the whole world will be watching, I feel blessed to be a part of it," Luke Vander Leest.

"It’s just a real privilege to live in a country that allows us to do these types of things. That allows us to go out and peruse what their passion is. Boston Strong," Waldera said.

A city united by strength and resilience and where many runners will finally have the opportunity to finish what they started.

"It will be a day of definite celebration that we didn't get to do last year and having that medal hung around my neck will be oh it's hard to describe, I don't have words," Venrick said. 

The Boston Marathon ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious racing events. Typically there is a cap of around 27,000 that qualify and then are accepted to run.

This year, they invited 9,000 runners back to finish the race.

The Boston Marathon takes place tomorrow.

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