Bruce heads back to Boston
Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:00 AM
Donna Bruce is one of six Madison Countians scheduled to race in the Boston Marathon on Monday, a year after the deadly terrorist attack that killed three and injured 264.
This will be the third year in a row the Madison resident has run in the most prestigious marathon in the world, and something she hadn't planned on doing.
"I had said I wouldn't go back for a third year because timing is tough with work," Bruce, an accountant for BKD, LLP, said. "After the incident last year, I can't not go. It's even more special."
She said the events that unfolded last year were, for the most part, in the back of her mind until this week rolled around.
"This last week has been - with the anniversary and news media and memorials - there's more emotion towards it," she said. "It's just...it's emotional. It's such an historic event and it's Boston."
Up until Tuesday, thoughts of another attack hadn't weighed on Bruce's mind, but she became a little uneasy following news reports of suspected hoaxes in the city. Boston police detonated two backpacks that had been placed at the finish line of the marathon in an apparent hoax. One of the bags had a rice cooker. The contents of the second bag were unknown. A suspect was in custody and charged with several infractions.
"That really caused me to stop and think something could happen again," Bruce said. "When I heard the news they had detonated two suspicious backpacks it caused me a little concern."
Overall, she and her husband feel like it will be a safe event and security will be tight. She's been communicating a lot with marathon organizers on new rules and regulations.
"There have been a lot of changes with respect to limitations in what you can carry," she explained. "Everything has to fit, essentially, in a 5x5 fanny pack. A lot of people tend to run in costume, that's prohibited. You can only take so much liquids and no glass bottles."
Bruce had finished the race last year by the time the bombs had gone off and she and husband Clark were a few blocks away when emergency vehicles began to swarm the area. They huddled inside a coffee shop trying to figure out what was going on before their phones became inundated with calls and texts from friends and family back home.
Fearing followup attacks at the time, the couple went to a park away from the downtown scene.
Joey Lee and his family barely missed the explosions last year. But, he won't be making the trek up to Boston this year.
A triathlete, Lee did not try to qualify for the marathon because it requires stepping away from swimming and biking training.
Stephanie Maisel isn't listed to run in this year's marathon. She was only a half-mile from the finish line when the blasts went off last year. When she returned to Madison, her students at Madison Station Elementary set up a half-mile course and cheered her on to finish.
Last year there were nine Madison Countians participating in the marathon and a number of others who traveled to work or spectate. This year, only six appear on the official entry list. They include Bruce, Cynthia and Todd Bobe of Madison, James McCue of Canton, Robert Ross of Ridgeland and Russell Simkins of Madison. The 118th running of the Boston Marathon begins Monday.