Local teacher tackles the Boston Marathon

Rory Whitbread was proud to be part of the first event since 2013 tragedy.

BOSTON STRONG – Lacombian Rory Whitbread runs in the 2014 Boston Marathon. Whitbread said he was proud to be part of the first event since last year’s tragedy.

BOSTON STRONG – Lacombian Rory Whitbread runs in the 2014 Boston Marathon. Whitbread said he was proud to be part of the first event since last year’s tragedy.

Rory Whitbread, a teacher at Ecole Lacombe Junior High School, is proud, for a number of reasons, to have been part of the 2014 Boston Marathon.

“I knew that this year, because of the events of last year, was going to be huge,” said Whitbread.

He said he has been running sporadically throughout his life but it wasn’t until 2008 that he started taking it seriously.

At that time, he was introduced to Lacombian Bill Nielsen who continued to be an inspiration to Whitbread as he continued to train seriously for marathons.

This year’s Boston Marathon was Whitbread’s seventh marathon and his second year running in the well-known event, the first being in 2011.

Whitbread ran this year’s race in tribute to Nielsen, who at the time was very ill and passed away very recently.

Whitbread finished the Boston Marathon this year with a time of two hours and 57 minutes, a new personal best for him and easily within his goal of a sub three-hour marathon. He said he was very pleased with the result and was spurred on throughout the race knowing he was running for a dear friend and had his wife waiting for him at the end as well as several people following him electronically.

Running in the Boston Marathon in the first year after the bombing was certainly a special feeling for Whitbread.

When news of the bombing broke last year, Whitbread said his initial reaction was one of bewilderment.

“It was such a confusing thing,” said Whitbread. “What was the motivation? Why would anyone want to tarnish such a neat event? It was anger, it was confusion, it was a range of emotions that I felt. So one year later, it was very neat to be part of it again.”

Although Whitbread had made plans to participate in this year’s Boston Marathon prior to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, he felt a little more driven, rather than scared, to participate in this year’s race after they happened.

He also said that he felt the race had a little more significance this year in light of the tragedies of the previous event.

What thoughts Whitbread had for personal safety were of his wife, who would be waiting at the finish line during the race.

Whitbread said he found out that she had been standing quite near where one of the bombs had gone off the year before.

Whitbread said the events at last year’s Boston Marathon were certainly on his mind while he was in Boston. He added that he was not alone in his feelings.

“There was definitely a feeling in the air that everyone was remembering the events of last year,” said Whitbread. He added that the feeling was one of positive energy and overcoming what had happened the year before.

This year also saw what Whitbread considered to be increased numbers of participants as well as spectators because of those feelings, he said. He added there was an estimated one million people lined up along the route cheering on the runners.

Prior to the race start, runners and fans observed a moment of silence with an air ambulance flyover in memory of those who had been killed and injured in last year’s tragedy, said Whitbread.

He added that the day before, runners had met at the finish line of the race where memorials had been set up for those who had died as well as recognition for those who had been injured.

Whitbread said this had been done the last time he had participated in the Boston Marathon as well and was a time of much celebration, but this year was a little different.

He also said mourners, runners and other supporters of the marathon had left wristbands, runners and race bibs behind at the memorials as a sign of their tribute and remembrance.

“It was still a happy place, but definitely the victims were on people’s minds.”

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Most Read