Emotions will be at the forefront for many of the Manchester runners planning to compete in the 118th Boston Marathon on Patriots’ Day. The tragic events of last year’s bombings on April 15 near the finish line on Boylston Street still remain fresh, especially to those who participated in last year’s marathon race.
Christine Pariseau-Telge, who finished the Boston Marathon 15 minutes before the first bomb went off, still remembers that day. She still recalls the panic setting in after the second bomb went off. She still has visions of the smoke and debris in its aftermath.
“It was complete chaos,” she said.
While she admits Monday’s run will be emotional for her, Telge, like thousands of other runners, refuses to let fear rule the day.
“Marathon training during this winter was hard enough, but thinking about what happened and how it will be this year is emotional,” said Telge. “My youngest son, Zachary, has asked me twice now if I will be safe. He asks if there will be any more bombs, and I have told him, keeping positive, that I will be safe. He does want to talk about the people who died last year and what he remembers, which I think is good.
“Peter (her husband) and my two boys will do their usual trip to Heartbreak Hill and cheer me on at mile 20. This day has always been a family event, with all my brothers, sisters, mother and father, and kids cheering on the runners and waiting for me. I don’t want that to change. They love this day. Once they see me, they will head to the finish to meet me. I am nervous, but I have to believe that all will be good.”
After last year’s marathon, Telge held an event at Livingston Park for the kids to participate in a “last mile” for those runners who were unable to complete the last mile in the Boston Marathon. Over 150 kids participated to raise money for the victims.
“I am honored to be a part of the Boston Marathon again, and know that each step in my 26.2 miles will be unforgettable and emotional,” said Telge. “It’s just part of the healing process.”
Sarah Normand had to drop out of last year’s race at mile 18 because of an injury. But like Telge, she recalls the panic and confusion that ensued following the bombings as she was leaving a parking garage near the finish line with her family. Still, last year’s tragedy hasn’t scared her away.
“The first question I’ve heard people ask me and others running in the marathon is ‘Are you afraid?’” said Normand. “My response is I’m not and that we can’t let what happen last year prevent us (marathon runners) from achieving our goals and dreams. This is my sixth Boston Marathon and I’m looking forward to it. I’m anticipating there’s going to be a lot of positive energy and to be part of it will be special.”
Normand said she was happy to see the running community come together over the past year. “The community, the country as a whole, we have really come together. I’m sure it means a lot to the families of the victims and survivors.”
Manchester runners in the Boston Marathon field this season includes Ernesto Burden, Colleen Campbell, Robert Campbell Jr., Leigh Carloni, Joyce Craig, Michael Craig, Meghan Cullen, Peter Gillis, Kyle Heavey, Alanna Hickey, David Hippert, Julia Huffman, Kathleen Jaworski, Matt Laberge, Karen Leclerc, Rick Leclerc, Ron Machakos, Cullen Madden, Peter Madden, Andre Martin Jr., Peter McDonough, Ezra Milby, Sarah Moore, Brandyn Naro, Kelsey Ouellette, Tim Perry, Lisa Provencher, Michael Rose, John Samataro, James Sparks, Denise Spenard, Derek St. Cyr, Craig St. Pierre, Gregory Timbas and Kathleen Wheeler.
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Last Tuesday, Larry Gagnon, a member of the Board of Directors for the Manchester City Marathon, appeared before the Manchester Board of Mayor and Alderman to announce this year’s event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 2. Over 1,500 runners are expected to compete in November in the USATF-NE Grand Prix event.
Gagnon told the aldermen the Manchester marathon has raised over $100,000 for various charities since 2007 and welcomes any help from volunteers this year. “Volunteers are important to our event,” said Gagnon. “We are a non-profit organization.” Gagnon said he plans to have Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, on site for this year’s marathon.
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Don Pinard, chief of Parks and Recreation, said there will no longer be a $1,000 surcharge to the city for turning the lights on before 8 p.m. at Gill Stadium. “The demand charge no longer exists, which means we can turn the lights on Gill Stadium when we need to before 8 o’clock at night,” said Pinard. “We reconfigured the wiring at the complex, so there’s no longer a demand charge.”
On another city matter, Pinard appeared before the Committee on Administration and Information System to discuss whether the city should waive fees for youth programs using Gill Stadium.
“The Manchester Babe Ruth Baseball League is the only youth program that isn’t charged a $75 per-game fee that other youth leagues pay. That was approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen many years ago,” said Pinard. “The other youth programs that use Gill Stadium, including the Manchester Pony League, are now asking we waive the fee for them.”
Pinard said the high school teams also pay the fee to play at Gill Stadium.
Alderman At-Large Dan O’Neil told the committee at one time Gill Stadium was part of the city’s enterprise. “George Smith, the champion for youth sports, felt at that time the Babe Ruth League couldn’t afford to pay the fee and asked that we waive it.”
O’Neil said, like Smith, he wants city kids to play at Gill Stadium. “When I grew up, playing at Gill Stadium was a big thing and it still is,” he said. “I don’t want us to drive leagues away from using Gill. Like Babe Ruth, there are other leagues now that can’t afford the fee. We should be helping them and making sure our city kids play at Gill Stadium.”
The item to waive the fee was tabled and Pinard will furnish the committee with more information next month.
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MANCHESTER CENTRAL Little League is celebrating its 65th anniversary in style today. League President Sally Dreckmann said close to 150 people, including former players, coaches and officials, will be recognized in a ceremony beginning at noon.
Among those on the list are Pat O’Neil, Bill Barry, Dick and Priscilla Marston, Mickey Hanagan, Denny Smith, Ron Giroux, Ron Bouchard, Barbara and Matt Lemear, Anna Young, Lou D’Allesandro, Stan Spirou and Phil Spiro.
“City Sports” is published Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at email@example.com.