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April 19. 2014 11:14PM

A look at some of the Granite Staters who will be running and remembering today

It will be the second-largest field in Boston Marathon history, surpassed only by the 38,000 who lined up for the 100th Boston in 1996. On Monday morning, they will assemble for the start in Hopkinton, Mass.: 36,000 strong - Boston strong. Among them will be about 600 New Hampshire residents, some running for time, some running for charity, some attempting to finish what they were denied the opportunity to achieve last year. All of them will run knowing that simply by participating, they will be contributing to the message that what the terrorists who attacked the Marathon on April 15, 2013, attempted to do failed. These are some of the Granite Staters who will be running in the 118th Boston Marathon.

Heather Demers

DemersAge: 33

Residence: Derry

Occupation: Hairstylist at Great Clips Manchester

Charity: Mass. Eye and Ear(

Boston Marathon experience: First

Comment: "I am running in honor of my son, Brady, who was born premature, weighing only 1 pound 4 ounces. He was on life support for the first year of his life before Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary performed a life-saving surgery. They saved my baby's life, and I can't think of a better way to give back than running for a life-changing charity."

Kevin Jacobus

Jacobus Age: 41

NH tie: Former Nashua resident

Occupation: Photographer, self-defense instructor at IMPACT Boston

Charity: Running for Project Purple (

Boston Marathon experience: First (second marathon overall)

Comment: "I'm running in honor of my father, Richard Jacobus of Nashua. He died in January of pancreatic cancer at Community Hospice House in Merrimack after being admitted to Elliot Hospital in Manchester. Unlike any race I've run before, this one is personal. It's been a challenge raising awareness of how little progress has been made in early detection and treatment of this disease. Even though it is one of the top-four deadly cancers, it seems that people aren't familiar with it when I mention it. Part of this is because many fewer are diagnosed with this type of cancer than lung, colon or breast cancer. However, almost as many die each year from pancreatic cancer as from breast cancer."

Thomas and Maria Kench

Maria KenchThomas Kench Ages: Thomas 38, Maria 35

Residence: Salem

Employers: Maria,; Thomas, Salem Police Dept.

Charity: Cops For Kids With Cancer (

Boston Marathon experience: First for both

Comment: "We are running in honor of the victims of last year's bombing. We have three children, ages 6, 4 and 2. We were not runners but decided to start running and training. We trained for a 5K, a 10K and ran the Bay State Half Marathon. As members of Cops Cure Kids for Cancer, we were required to raise $6,200 each for the charity, but we exceeded our goals, combining to raise close to $15,000. We've also worked with a local family who has a 5-year-old with brain cancer. We submitted their paperwork for financial assistance, and in March they received a $5,000 check from the charity."

Lisa Luz

Luz Age: 43

Residence: Derry

Occupation: Director of Ambulatory Clinics, Lawrence (Mass.) General Hospital

Charity: The Greg Hill Foundation (; enter "LISA LUZ" in search field)

Boston Marathon experience: First

Comment: "I was encouraged to apply to the Greg Hill Foundation team by my friend Karen Brassard of Epsom. Karen, her husband, Ron, and their daughter were injured in last year's Boston Marathon bombings. In the aftermath of that life-changing incident, I felt like I had to do something for this family and initiated a fundraiser for them last spring. The Hill Foundation was one of the first local foundations to provide immediate support to the victims and their families. As soon as Karen told me about this team, I knew I had to be a part of it, to be able to run for Karen and Ron, and to help them 'pay-it-forward' to the Foundation that stepped in so quickly to help them.

"As a child I was in awe of my neighbor who ran Boston. As genetics, emotions and life in general got in my way, I ended up morbidly obese with hip arthritis. Fast forward to 2010: 150 pounds lighter, with two new artificial hips and permission. I can run! And so I do.

"Since April 15, 2013, every time I want to quit or make excuses, I think of my friends who were injured, along with all affected, and how they cannot quit; they have to move forward. It's an honor to represent all that is good about running and about being Boston Strong."

Sarah McKitterick

McKitterick Age: 29

NH tie: Londonderry native

Occupation: Community relations manager, Boston Ballet

Charity: Mass. Down Syndrome Congress (

Boston Marathon experience: Stopped short of finish line by the 2013 bombing.

Comment: "For the past year and a half, I have been working at Boston Ballet's Department of Education and Community Initiatives. One of our programs, Adaptive Dance, provides creative movement to students with Down syndrome ages 2 through adult. I have been deeply affected by the individuals involved in the program - by the talent and creativity of the students, and the passion and dedication of their families.

"I was inspired by our students to run the Boston Marathon in 2013; due to the tragic events that occurred last year, I was unable to finish and was stopped at 25.7 miles. I am looking to finish this race strong this year, for the MDSC and for Boston."

Meghan McIver and Nathan Semiao

Semiao McIver Ages: Meghan 23, Nathan 25

NH ties: Meghan is from Holderness, Nathan from Campton.

Occupation: Law students

Charity: Running for the Lenny Zakim Fund:

Boston Marathon experience: First for both

Comment: "We currently live very close to the Boston Marathon finish line. After last year's marathon we were determined to run in this year's race as charity runners. We didn't have any background in running. Doing some of our training in the great state of New Hampshire made old Heartbreak Hill look like a speed bump! It was tough to juggle the training with school and fundraising, but we had great support from our family and friends back in the Granite State."

Bill Ritchotte

Ritchotte Age: 46

NH tie: Manchester native

Occupation: Senior producer/editor, WBZ-TV

Charity: Boston Health Care for the Homeless (

Boston Marathon experience: Stopped short of finish line by the 2013 bombing.

Comment: "Last year's Boston Marathon was going to be a personal achievement for me: raising $5,000 for Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and training to run a marathon. But it ended in the most horrifying way. When the BAA invited those of us left on the course back to finish what we started, I had no choice. I'll be running for those who lost their lives, those who were maimed and injured, those who will not be able to run, for those who ran toward the danger, for the city I love and for a cause I believe in. My incredible family and friends, many from Greater Manchester, once again gave me support both morally and financially, and I have raised almost $3,000 for BHCHP so far this year. When I finally cross that finish line, I will be taking all of them with me."

Jack Savage

Savage Age: 55

Residence: Middleton

Occupation/employer: Society for the Protection of NH Forests

Charity: Team Eye and Ear (;

Boston Marathon experience: Second (fifth overall)

Comment: "I first got involved with Massachusetts Eye and Ear when my brother-in-law, Michael, was being treated for ocular melanoma more than a decade ago. Ocular melanoma is a particularly nasty cancer that is fortunately relatively rare - but that means that there are fewer research dollars being put toward fighting it. My wife and I helped provide hospice care to Michael in his final days. He died in our living room.

"Two years ago I ran the Boston Marathon as part of Team Eye and Ear in honor of Michael. Last year, I happened to be at the finish line of the Marathon to watch my own brother, who ran. Fortunately, he is fast, and we were a few blocks away went the bombs went off. But, having been that lucky, I felt the need to find a way to give back. So this year I am once again running the Marathon as part of Team Eye and Ear, which was one of eight hospitals who treated victims of the bombings."This year I'm dedicating my run to Rochester's Scott Gaulin, who is bravely battling ocular melanoma today. He is a father of three who has maintained a tremendously positive outlook throughout his ordeal, which I admire greatly."

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