Tara Murray: State College runner was in the middle of Boston Marathon tragedy

May 4, 2013 

Bob Crowe was one of the last runners to cross the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon on April 15. As the Boalsburg resident approached the famous finish line on Boylston Street, he saw a blast and debris. “Then I heard another one,” he said. “It must have been in back of me.”

Crowe didn’t know it at the time, but he was in between two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon. Shortly afterward, race officials closed the finish line and diverted runners away from Boylston Street.

After Crowe finished, he still didn’t know what had happened. He was able to get his checked bag and take a shuttle back to the race start area in Hopkinton, where he was staying with a friend. When he finally saw the news on television, he said it was “shocking and depressing.”

Crowe first ran the Boston Marathon in 1968 and believes he has run the legendary race about 20 times. Far from being scared off by the tragic events this year, he can’t wait to go back, and is encouraging all of his children to qualify and enter the race with him.

He said the Boston Marathon is special because of the spectators. “Whether you’re winning the race or finishing in 6 hours, they’re cheering for you,” he said. “They love the runners, and it goes down generations.”

Crowe, 65, finished Boston in 4 hours, 24 minutes, 41 seconds, slower than he might have run otherwise after his training was interrupted by an injury. A 65-year-old man needs to run a 4:10 or faster to qualify for the 2014 race.

Jaimie Wright of State College wasn’t at Boston this year, but is also trying to qualify for the 2014 race. She cheered on runners as a kid in Boston and has run the marathon twice.

When she heard the news of the bombings, Wright said she was devastated. “The Boston Marathon is a celebration of life—for both the runners and spectators,” she said.

Before the bombings, Wright was not planning to run a marathon this year. “I had sworn off running marathons until my boys (ages 3 and 1) are a bit older and my husband is at a less demanding point in his career,” she said. “However, I feel called to run Boston next year. I want to be at the starting line next April to stand in solidarity with the people of Boston and to underscore the strength of the running community.”

Wright needs to run a 3:40 or better to qualify, and plans to make her attempt at the Lehigh Valley Marathon in early September.

Nittany Track and Field

The Nittany Track and Field youth running program begins a new track season May 6. The program is beginner-friendly and also attracts experienced youth athletes to work on fitness and technique and prepare for Junior Olympic track meets or school sports. Over the years, NTF has worked with hundreds of kids from age 8 up to high school.

This summer, organizer Mark Fedkin says the program will connect youth with successful athletes and coaches in the area through clinics on various track and field specialties. “I think we have fantastic resources in the State College area when it comes to track and field and running in general,” Fedkin said. “We are working towards bringing those resources to the kids.”

Coaches from the program will hold an informational meeting on May 5 at 3 p.m. at the State College Area High School track. Starting May 6, NTF will hold practices four times a week, Monday through Friday, from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. at the track. Youth athletes are not required to attend all practices. The season runs through July 18.

More details about NTF and its summer program, as well as registration details, are available online at www.ntfxc.com or call Fedkin at 814-876-0461.

Race Results

Charlie Denk, 20, of Fairview Park, Ohio, won the “King of the Hills” title at the FaithCentre 10K in Bellefonte on April 6 in 35 minutes, 8 seconds. Tara Murray, 36, of Bellefonte, won the “Queen of the Hills” title in 43:29. Nate Woodman, 15, of State College won the 5K in 17:51. Michelle Stroud, 40, of Bellefonte was the first woman in 24:15.

Chris Cipro, 23, of State College won the Jeremy Herbstritt Memorial 5K, held on Penn State’s campus April 16, in 17:18. Jana Clinton, 23, of State College was the first woman in 20:45.

Owen Griffith, 20, of State College, won the Dog Jog 5K on April 27 at the Grange Fair Grounds in Centre Hall in 18:13. Emma Federinko, 17, of Spring Mills, was the first woman in 22:03. The top male and female runners with dogs were Paul Fritzsche, 34, of State College, in 18:40, and Mary Batdorf, 16, of McVeytown is 22:33.

On the trails

Local runners found success at the Hyner View Trail Challenge on April 20 in Renovo. Nearly 1,000 people completed the 25K (16 miles). Jacob Loverich of State College led the way, finishing in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 29 seconds with a comfortable lead on the next runner. Eric Marshall of State College (fourth, 2:27:34) and Jeff Smucker of Woodward (fifth, 2:30:31) also finished in the top five. Meira Minard of State College (2:44:46) was the first woman and sixteenth overall. In the 50K, Jesse Johnson of Stewartstown was first in 4:55:19, and Ashley Moyer of Oley was the first woman and third overall in 5:15:50.

State College area runners can hit the trails a little closer to home at the Greenwood Furnace Trail Challenge on May 5 (half marathon, www.greenwoodfurnacetrailchallenge.com) and Rothrock Trail Challenge on June 1 (30K, www.rothrockchallenge.com, registration deadline May 12).

Race Calendar

Linden Loop 5-miler. May 5, 2 p.m., Linden Hall Rd. Event also includes a 28-mile supported bike ride at 12:30 p.m., 5-mile family/recreational bike ride at 1 p.m., 5-mile walk at 1:30 p.m., and free tours of the Rock Hill School from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Website and online registration: http://rockhillschoolatlindenhall.blogspot.com.

Beidelheimer Sidewinder 10K. May 11, 9:30 a.m. Tussey Teaser No. 3, giving runners a tour of the fourth leg of the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon course in reverse. $20.

Runners meet at Whipple Dam State Park for transportation to the start.

Features age- and gender-graded awards and a team competition. Website: http://tusseymountainback.com/tussey_teasers.html.

End of the Mountain 5K. May 18, 9 a.m., Lemont Village Green. $20. Race day registration and number pickup from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Website: www.lemontvillage.org.

Black Moshannon 10K and 5K. May 25, 10 a.m., Black Moshannon State Park. Walkers start at 9 a.m. and runners start at 10 a.m. Pre-registration discounts for multiple entrants from the same household. Website: www.ymcaofcentrecounty.org.

Boalsburg Memorial Day Run 4-miler. May 27, 8:30 a.m., Blue Spring Park on W. Pine St. $15 pre-registration, $20 race day. Registration form available from http://nvrun.com.

Tara Murray writes a monthly running column for the Centre Daily Times.

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