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Tidying up: Runners get their medals from terror-hit Boston marathon

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Bermuda athletes who took part in the Boston marathon received their medals at a Government House ceremony yesterday.

Governor George Fergusson, a former Boston resident, said of the 16 runners who took part, seven did not get their medals on the day because of the bombing at the finish line.

“This is a loose end of that awful day which we can tidy up and, in doing so, not only remember that day but celebrate the close connection between our two communities,” said Mr Fergusson.

About 30 family members and friends of the athletes turned up for the ceremony which began with a moment of silence in honour of the victims.

Also attending the event were Premier Craig Cannonier, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell, and Community Development Minister Wayne Scott.

John Doyle of the Boston Athletics Association, a repeat visitor to the Island, presented the medals to the athletes.

Joining the proceedings via live video link to the UK Consulate in Boston were the Consul General Susie Kitchens and Boston Police Head of Operations Supt Billy Evans.

Dr Coyle, a former President of the Boston Athletics Association, explained that he offered to bring the seven medals with him to Bermuda when he learned that not all of the athletes had received their medals.

“Although we can never change the tragic outcomes, the incredible outpouring of support and acts of kindness that have happened since, and continue to occur, have touched us all,” he said.

And he vowed that next year’s Boston marathon will be “stronger than before and we will all stand with great pride as once again the international running community and the people of Boston come together for one of the most exciting sporting events in the world.”

Those who were unable to complete the race will not have to qualify next year.

At least 264 persons were injured and three killed when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston marathon on April 15.

Yesterday’s ceremony had its poignant moments — Dr Coyle choked back tears as he described how important the marathon was to him personally. But it was also laced with light humour and gestures of appreciation.

Mr Fergusson said: “I’m glad that in my four years in Boston, nobody had expected me to run in the Boston marathon, partly because you start that day at 4 or 5 in the morning commemorating past British defeats.”

Supt Evans said the recognition of the tragedy at the ceremony meant a great deal to Boston residents. “We all went to work for four straight days working hard and were eventually able to capture the other outstanding suspect. It was an emotional week for a lot of us — a roller coaster. And I just want to extend my gratitude on behalf of the City.”

See www.theroyalgazette.com for interviews with some of the athletes.

Governor George Fergusson hosted a medal presentation for seven Bermudians who competed in the recent Boston Marathon, but were unable to complete due to the terrorist attack near the finishing line. Pictured Center- Boston Athletic Associationís (BAA) Dr John Coyle with the 15 Bermudians who competed in the Boston Marathon. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
JoAnn Lee smiles after receiving her Boston Marathon medal yesterday afternoon at Government House, as she and six other Bermudian marathon participants were unable to complete the event due to the tragic bombing.(Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 03, 2013 at 11:35 pm)

Tidying up: Runners get their medals from terror-hit Boston marathon

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