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Running community united in Cumming after Boston Marathon bombing


Set up finish line for returning runner



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Totally Running co-owner Alex Rodriguez reiterates the common theme of the night, saying, “Let’s focus on the positives of this tragedy and congratulate the runners on their safe return.” CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)

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Boston Marathon runners Laura Semanson, Ginny Westerby and Shane Sweet at the Totally Running event. CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)

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Boston Marathon runner Laura Semanson wasn’t able to finish the marathon before the bombing, which occurred two hours after winners crossed the finish line. CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)

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Boston Marathon runners from Cumming: Laura Semanson, Ginny Westerby and Shane Sweet. CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)

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Boston Marathon runners from Cumming: Laura Semanson, Ginny Westerby and Shane Sweet. CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)

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Lisa, Austin and Stephanie Shea came out to support the runners. Austin, 17, runs cross country at West Forsyth High School and Stephanie, 14, runs track at Vickery Creek Middle School. CAROLYN ASPENSON. (click for larger version)
April 24, 2013
CUMMING, Ga. — Runners share a secret, one of strength, compassion and fierce loyalty.

They run.

They run for fun, to raise money, to eliminate stress, to stay in shape and because they can.

It's just what they do. So when the Boston Marathon came under terrorist attack April 15, runners everywhere ran.

"The day of the bombing, runners ran, and the next morning, we ran again and we will continue to run too, because if we don't, then they win," Sali McCahill, of Cumming, said.

McCahill and others celebrated local runners who participated in the Boston Marathon at a party hosted by Totally Running, 405 Peachtree Parkway in Cumming, on April 18.

"We don't want to discuss the bombing," Alex Rodriguez, Totally Running co-owner, said. "We want to celebrate our runners."

And celebrate, they did.

About 30 residents from the area showed up to offer well wishes for marathon participants Laura Semanson, Shane Sweet and Ginny Westerby.

Sweet and Westerby were able to finish the 26.6-mile run before the bombs went off, but Semanson was not.

At the local festivities, Semanson ran through the finish line outside of Totally Running.

"We're glad they're safe and want runners everywhere to know we're supporting them, whether they're running in a marathon or down their street," Rodriguez said. "We're a family and we won't let this tragedy stop us from doing what we love."

Friends created a finish line sign and posted an approximate finish time, and Semanson ran across the line to a cheering crowd.

"We wanted her to finish," McCahill said. "Every runner deserves to cross the finish line and every runner deserves their medal."

"This is good," McCahill said. "Everyone is happy and grateful they're home and OK."

In front of a cheering crowd, Westerby gave Semanson her medal.

"This is wonderful," Semanson said.

This article was published in the Forsyth Herald April 23, 2013 edition

list visuals View images.
Local residents who were to run in the 2013 Boston Marathon

CUMMING

Bartholomew, Amy B. 38 F Cumming

Blackford-Noonan, Rhonda 45 F Cumming

Gillette, Jonathan 46 M Cumming

Griffith, Amy J 55 F Cumming

Salvador, Natalie I 32 F Cumming

Semanson, Laura 49 F Cumming

Sweet, Shane V. 35 F Cumming

Taylor, Tod 47 M Cumming

Westerby, Virginia 37 F Cumming

ROSWELL

Blenis, Alec 18 M Roswell

Cooper, Colleen 32 F Roswell

Hendry, Stacey E. 41 F Roswell

Jenkins, Karen 52 F Roswell

Kelderhouse, Amy 27 F Roswell

Lenahan, Joseph J 66 M Roswell

Quarles, Florencia M. 30 F Roswell

Sarphie, John P 44 M Roswell

Stephenson, Ben W 23 M Roswell

Webb, Yvette 48 F Roswell

ALPHARETTA

Betts, Danette L 48 F Alpharetta

Coco, Edward M. 48 M Alpharetta

Hays, Shannon R. 35 F Alpharetta

Hurd, Stacey 45 F Alpharetta

Kimber, Rebecca 39 F Alpharetta

Louw, Ingrid L. 40 F Alpharetta

Noori, Sina C. 46 F Alpharetta

Paine, Christi 45 F Alpharetta

Pufall, Matthew 30 M Alpharetta

Ruark, Richard G 50 M Alpharetta

Saxby, Holly S 38 F Alpharetta

Thomson, Kenneth J 45 M Alpharetta

MILTON

Hirschi, Kenneth 47 M Milton

Hirschi, Linda R. 45 F Milton

Seale, Diane 56 F Milton

JOHNS CREEK

Anglade, Ronald E. 42 M Johns Creek

Butcher, Kelley A. 46 F Johns Creek

Massie, Jason 44 M Johns Creek

Murray, Dennis C. 61 M Johns Creek

Skalka, David H. 40 M Johns Creek

*Source: 2013 Boston Marathon entry list

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