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Sioux Falls Runners Still Plan On Competing At Boston Marathon Despite Last Year's Attack

March 23, 2014, 10:16 PM by Leland Steva

Sioux Falls Runners Still Plan On Competing At Boston Marathon Despite Last Year's Attack
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The 2013 Boston Marathon will not be remembered for who finished first, but for the planned explosions that killed three and injured over two hundred.

The normally joyous Boston Marathon turned to chaos when two explosions had people running for their lives. Mike Waldera of Sioux Falls was competing in the marathon for the first time. He finished the race, but was still around the finish line because he was getting treated for dehydration. He was with family celebrating the event when the first bomb went off.

"It felt like somebody had given me a push. A very hard brief push to knock me off balance," Mike Waldera said.

Waldera remembers everyone freezing after the first explosion, not knowing what happened. After the second blast, people scattered from the scene. His family was able to get away without any injury.

The life-long runner says even with all he saw that day, he still plans on running April 21.

"The only reason why I wouldn't go back would be on my own terms. Not something dictated by terrorists or other people," Waldera said.

Luke Vander Leest has always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, but he never worked with his schedule. This year he was able to attend, and he wasn't going to let last year's attack keep him from a lifelong goal.

"There's some people that tell me I'm crazy because of what happened last year but honestly being a distance runner people tell you you're crazy all the time anyway. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning, running ten miles before school when it's 20 below zero, people say I'm crazy anyways," Luke Vander Leest said.

Both runners say they will be safe when they step up to the start line of the Boston Marathon.

"My guess is Boston, Massachusetts on April 21 will be the safest place in the county," Vander Leest said.

"I have complete confidence in the Boston PD to do what it takes to make sure what happened last year doesn't happen again," Waldera said.

Around 3500 officers will be on site of the marathon next month. Backpacks and large coolers are also banned on the sidewalks during the race.

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