Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 15, 2014

Cheryl Marner aims to cross finish line during this year's Boston Marathon

Local woman training for return to Boston after bombs cut last year's race short

(Continued)

She gradually increased her mileage until she was running 22 miles on the weekend.

And not once did she run on the treadmill. Some days she trudged through the snow. Other days she added layer after layer to protect her from temperatures that felt like 30 below.

“Those days weren’t the most fun days,” she said. “But if you live in Indiana, you can’t wait for the perfect day.”

It’s good practice for grueling conditions on race day, she said.

Marner didn’t have to qualify for this year’s marathon. She received an invitation to run, an invitation that was extended to about 5,000 people who almost finished the race last year before the bombs went off. Marner said about 4,000 of those people agreed to return.

She knows the atmosphere in Boston this year will be really special. Everyone is linked by the tragedy, she said.

“We all want to pull together and demonstrate Boston is strong,” she said. “Boston is a special place. They open up their hearts and make us feel special.”

She isn’t at all afraid to go back to the site of the tragedy, she said. She’s received emails about security upgrades for this year’s race. She knows there will be a heightened police presence. It will probably be the safest place in the U.S. Monday, she said.

Even if it wasn’t, Marner said she wouldn’t hesitate to run the race.

“In the aftermath of Boston [last year] it reinforced the idea that anything can happen on any day,” she said. “I don’t want a senseless tragedy to stop me from doing something I love.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LindseyZiliak.

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