FOREST PARK (KTVI)-Two runs in Forest Park Saturday morning were organized to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The grass roots efforts were organized through Facebook pages, one by a local woman who says she just needed to do something after the attack in New England. But for many running Saturday in St. Louis, it was even more personal.
Howard Mayes was among the thousand or so runners who went into Forest Park as a sign of unity. Five days earlier, he was nearly the last person to finish the Boston Marathon. The first blast happened, literally as he crossed the line.
"It was a very frightful time because you don’t know whether people are hurt or what’s going on and then I thought about my wife and the possibility she might be in that group," he told us.
She was safe, but he was forever changed.
"Just that feeling, that fear that was associated with it made me feel compassion for those people. The people, the family, the friends, all the people who had someone in that blast," he said. "There was just such a feeling of combined sadness with those people. It was terrible."
It seems like every St. Louisan who ever ran Boston was here. Mark Volkmann, who also ran Monday but finished well before the blasts, was still trying to make sense of it all.
"It was all very surreal. Hard to believe it was happening. It seems like such an odd group of people to attack," he said. "None of it makes any sense and I guess you can’t make any sense out of it."
Meanwhile Mary Kiehl, who ran in 2011, said a tribute a thousand miles away matters because Boston owns a piece of you once you've run the marathon.
"It’s holy ground for most of us and the city is what makes it such a great event."
On this day running was fitting, because dealing with terror is sort of like running: you find something inside and push to go forward, even when every fiber of your being says, 'stop.'
"Things go on," Volkmann said. "There are more marathons to do and I’m not goinna stop because of this."
Mayes agreed, saying he would run Boston again some day.
"Oh yeah. I would go back but there’s always gonna be that in the back of your mind. That something like this could happen and will probably happen again at some time in some venue, but yeah, I will go back. You’ve gotta keep going."
More coverage: St. Louisan Organizes Unity Run For Boston