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‘Boston strong’ reaches Virginia

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Sisson prepares for local 5K, June 29

Months have passed since the bombings at the Boston Marathon. No one could have fathomed the idea of it having any direct contact to the Northern Neck, but it did.

In her visit to the state, which holds many national sports championships, Sarah Sisson saw first hand the impact of the disaster. It was an unreal experience, Sisson said after crossing the finish line with a personal best time of three hours and 19 minutes.

“Everything that happened after I finished was sad and disheartening. I have never in my life felt unsafe at a running event. Something like that had never

Washington & Lee High School graduate Sarah Sisson prepares for the Fourth of July 5K to help raise funds for the high school cross country team. This comes after competing in the Boston Marathon in April.

even crossed my mind,” Sisson said.

It wasn’t until 25-30 minutes later she realized what happened after crossing the finish line. The bombs had gone off.

“If I had heard the bombs go off, the noise had gotten lost in all of the excitement and energy of the streets of Boston,” Sisson said. She learned a bomb went off after two messages from her sister Anna and a friend. It was then she learned her phone was not working after calling her mother Dede Sisson and high school coach Cole Vanover.

It wasn’t until around 10 p.m. she learned of the possible motive and who was behind it. Like many people, Sisson said she resorted to the Internet and television for updates.

“She was watching the news coverage and I just remember Sarah saying that there was a lot of blood.  Too much blood.  And that people had lost limbs,” Dede Sisson said.

To date, Dede is thankful her daughter was able to make it out safely.

“I wanted to be informed. I wanted my questions answered. I wanted to understand,” Sisson said. “Although I’m not sure that I’ll ever understand why it occurred, I’m glad the terrorists were identified and caught.”

This was Sisson’s third career marathon and fastest time recorded after racing in the Charlottesville Marathon last April and the Philadelphia Marathon in November. Before the race began in Boston, Sisson said it was an experience that made her smile the entire time.

“Finishing with a personal record made the experience even better. I had not only gotten to Boston, but I had finished the race with the time that I had hoped to,” Sisson said.

After the bombings she returned to her college, the University of Virginia, to participate in a silent lap for those victims and their families.

“I didn’t think runners could get much closer, but I was wrong. Runners are tough, marathoners are even tougher. And this incident did nothing to our spirits or drive or determination but strengthen them,” Sisson said. “I’ll be running in the Boston Marathon in 2014 because I want to show the terrorists that they haven’t won. Boston is strong, and I’m excited that I get to be a part of it next year.”

Sisson returns to her high school alma mater this weekend for the second annual Fourth Of July 5K to help support the Washington & Lee Cross Country Team coached by Vanover and Cindy Flickinger.

“At the young age of 19.  I was so happy for her,” Vanover said following her marathon in Boston. “She has been an astounding role-model for all of our athletes.”

As for the upcoming 5K in Montross, Sisson is looking forward to the event.

“I’m really excited about the event this year because I’m confident that it will be an even greater success than it was last year,” Sisson said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive responses from the Montross community and all other counties surrounding Westmoreland. Local people and businesses have been great at helping support and promote the event. Without them this event wouldn’t be possible.”

On June 29, the second annual Fourth of July 5K will be held at in front of the old Westmoreland Courthouse at 15803 Kings Highway in Montross. Registration and check-In time begins at 7 a.m. with the race at 8 a.m.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FourthOfJuly5K and www.active.com/5k-race/montross-va/second-annual-fourth-of-july-5k-2013 Registration Fee: $15 and $20 on Race Day Proceeds benefit Washington & Lee High School Athletics.