Many Johnson County residents getting ready for the Kansas City Marathon on Saturday at Washington Park.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
But two Johnson County women who ran in the Boston Marathon still have that on their minds as they prepare to participate in the Kansas City event.
Leawood’s Kyla Christie, who will run in the half marathon Saturday, remembered how excited she was that she had qualified for Boston. She has run four marathons and first started competing in 2002.
“I trained so hard to get to that race and felt so blessed to be running with some of the best runners in the world,” she said. “The day was beautiful. I was not trying to do any PRs (personal records) that day, nor had I trained to do so.”
But the scene after the two explosions near the finish line still lingers in her mind.
“The excitement from all the people cheering along every part of the course was so motivating, I crossed the finish line minutes before the first explosion,” she said. “When I heard the first explosion, me and the people around me felt the ground shake but didn’t think much about it. Maybe it was a cannon?
“When the second explosion sounded, that is when things started to get scary.”
The memories are still vivid today.
“I feel so blessed that my children were not there, that my husband was on the opposite side of the street from the explosions and that I had crossed the finish line and was far enough away not to have seen anything that I could not erase from my mind,” she said.
Kelly Dippold of Overland Park, who will be one of the pacers in the KC Marathon, also ran in the Boston Marathon but had finished by the time the explosions rocked the race.
“I was already in my hotel room when the bombs went off,” she said. “I remember getting a telephone call from a friend who was at the finish line letting me know what happened.
“I remember the sounds of sirens and the sight of armored cars, military and police, and I remember the telephone calls from concerned family members, friends and co-workers making sure that I was OK.”
Dippold was a world championship triathlete in 2012, winning her 50-54 age group in New Zealand. She began running marathons at the age of 34, took some time away and didn’t run another marathon until she was 47.
As a pacer in the KC Marathon, Dippold will help encourage runners.
“As pacers, we are responsible for reaching the finish line at a predetermined time,” she said. “We try to encourage those runners who choose to run with us along the route, and we try to run the race as efficiently as possible.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and to help athletes reach their race-day goals.”