The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 22, 2013

Edmond runners support Boston victims, confront terror

OKC Memorial Marathon set for Sunday

EDMOND — They run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for different reasons.

They run to remember the horrifying events of April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb that sheared off a third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killing 168 men, women and children, changing a city, state and nation forever.

They run to remember a loved one.

They run to celebrate life and all things good and positive.

Sunday morning, they also will run to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three and wounded more than 175.

Leslie Buford, a member of the Landrunners, an Oklahoma City running club, said this was her first time to miss the Boston Marathon in five years. She is in the final stages of preparing to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Buford said she is running for two reasons — to support Boston and to honor W. Stephen Williams, 42, of Cashion, who was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Williams was an operations supervisor for the Social Security Administration. He is survived by his wife Barbara and three daughters. One of them, Sara Sweet, is a friend of Buford’s.

Buford, who works for OU Medical Center-Edmond, said marathoners are stubborn folk.

“I want to do better now,” she said. “There’s no way I’m not running Oklahoma City after this happened.”

Buford said she and her mother are committed to run the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Heath Jones, who directs the Oklahoma Christian University Jazz Ensemble and Sweat Band, said he is leaning toward trying to finish his first marathon on Sunday. Jones said he has participated in an 18-week training program, part of a decision to get healthier, and even if he doesn’t finish it would be an accomplishment.

Jones said he was extremely saddened when he heard about what happened in Boston. The threat of terrorism has crossed his mind.

“I’ve heard it said that if you change your lifestyle you give terrorists more power,” he said. “I try to keep living.”

Edmond resident Jena Walla, who finished her first marathon in Kansas a week before the Boston Marathon bombing, got her running club involved in a Boston Strong 5K in honor of the victims. Runners from several different clubs began Monday evening at First and Littler and made a loop through Edmond.

A week ago, Walla said she was taking the day off to recover from finishing the marathon in Kansas when she learned about the Boston Marathon bombing. Then she found out about the Boston Strong movement, which was a way for her to honor the victims.

“I was really passionate about wanting to do something,” she said.

The event is a way to unite as a community and to show that Americans will not be defeated, Walla said.

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