Local Runner: "I'll be back next year"

Midlands Marathoners want to move on but not forget

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Here at home, South Carolina runners, specifically those from the Midlands, prepare to return home. One local marathoner, still in Boston, says he's ready to go back next year, in spite of the bombings.

"[How are you?] I'm good."

That was the brief exchange with Michael Graham, as he prepares to return to Columbia from participating in the Boston Marathon yesterday. Scheduled to fly back to Columbia tomorrow, the veteran says he's ready to come home. He actually finished the race a little over an hour before the bombings occurred but still heard what he thought to be loud thunder in the sky. We know now, it was two bombs detonated near the finish line of the race, according to officials.

"It's the last thing you expected to happen. I feel really bad for the people who were spectators at the finish line."

Graham's friend and co-worker, Jordan Lybrand, believes the very thing Graham went to Boston to do, run, is the same thing that will sustain him through this tragedy.

"I think as runners, God's blessed us with the perfect coping mechanism," said Lybrand. "We can lace up, get out and go run, clear our mind and figure it all out."

Lybrand, who manages Strictly Running in Columbia's Five Points, says all of the Midlands runners, a dozen or so, who went to Massachusetts, want to move on but never forget.

"One of the guys that used to work for us is a designer now and he made a logo. It's a shoe lace ribbon that says 'Run for Boston' at the bottom."

It's a small way, Lybrand says, to honor every kind of casualty that occurred 4/15/13.

And as for Michael Graham...

"[Has this stopped you from training and continuing to run?]

Absolutely not. I'll be back next year."

Michael Graham went on to say that's what runners do, in the midst of obstacles, they keep going. In fact, plans are underway to have local athletes gather later this week at the University of South Carolina...to run for Boston.

For more more information on the memorial run scheduled for Thursday at USC, call The Daily Gamecock at 803-777-3888.

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