The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 15, 2014

Boston Marathon: Valley runners determined to return, show support

By Jon Gerardi

The Daily Item

Northumberland's Bob Welby is no stranger to marathons. He's run in plenty over the years, including the Boston Marathon on seven occasions, most recently in 2008.

It was after that year that Welby figured he was done running in marathons, but once he witnessed the unfortunate events of the Boston Marathon bombing on television last year, he knew he had to run it once more.

"I just felt that I was really determined to go up there this year," Welby said.

Welby isn't the only runner in the Valley who will be participating in the 118th annual Boston Marathon, set for Monday. Recently, the Northumberland resident hosted a Boston Marathon party for those participating. Roughly 40 people attended, half of whom were area runners.

"When you watched what happened last year, it was the spectators who were hurt (as well as runners)," Welby said. "We tried to honor some of the people who were supportive of the running community."

While Welby wasn't in Boston last year, Lewisburg's Maria Bhangdia was. Bhangdia's husband and daughter were near the finish line where the bombs were placed. Thankfully for them, they left the area to meet Maria before the bombs detonated.

It's been a year since the attacks but, for Bhangdia, it's fresh in her memory as if it happened just yesterday.

"I can't believe it's been a year, actually," Bhangdia said. "A lot of what I remember is just seeing the response to what happened and kind of the chaos that followed. It's all fresh in my memory and all events that happened in the days after. People's reaction to me and my family when we came back was really overwhelming. Everyone wanted to make sure we were okay, and everyone wanted to know what happened and how we were, It was really a surreal kind of experience."

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