Boston ‘won’t be the same’

Local runner will return to Boston but expects a very different experience.

PORT McNEILL—Local distance runner Ken Richardson has run the Boston Marathon twice, and still plans to return next April despite the bomb attack last week that left three spectators dead and more than 100 injured near the finish line.

But he expects a rather different experience from his first two trips to Boston, in 2006 and 2010.

“It won’t be the same, I think,” said Richardson, 69. “Security will be intense. I don’t think it’ll ever have quite the same magic, because that memory will always be there.”

Richardson, who has been among the top finishers in his age group in marathons in North America and Europe, qualified to run Boston  with his time in last fall’s Victoria Marathon.

Because it was a fall race, it qualified him for both the 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons.

He might well have been on Boylston Street last week, except he is too young.

“I wanted to wait until next year when I race in the 70-74 age group,” he said. “I thought I’d wait to run when I’m not competing against those young 65-year-olds.”

Levity aside, Richardson described learning of last week’s bombing as “a kick in the guts.”

A paramedic and substitute teacher, he had planned to go on a 40-kilometre run as the Boston Marathon took place on the other side of the continent.

But he was called in to teach at North Island Secondary, and heard the news from a fellow teacher in the hall.

“I feel for those people, and the people of Boston lining those streets,” he said. “I know what it’s like to put in all that time and work, training for that  one special experience.

“And then you turn the final corner and can see the finish line, but it’s all taken away. It’s a terrible shock.”