CARTERVILLE, Mo. — A local elementary school teacher is lacing up her shoes and heading to Boston.
Marissa Blackford is a first grade teacher at Carterville Elementary School. But, this weekend, she’ll take off her teacher hat and put on her running shoes to return to the Boston Marathon.
Now, the first time she ran it was ten years ago… When tragedy happened.
“We stood there. We just stood there, and it was like people running, and screaming, and running, and we just kinda stood there like, ‘what do we do?'” said Blackford.
She was there on April 15, 2013 — the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing.
“Was finally able to get a phone call back to Webb City, to my parents, and they hadn’t heard anything, I told them turn on the news and please let us know what was going on. And we just kinda got away from the scene, so we just started walking.”
The bombing killed three people and injured 280 others. After witnessing an event like that, she said it’s taken time to get things back on track.
“Well I do remember coming home, and immediately the next month running in the Joplin Memorial Run and I remember rounding the corner on Main Street, and I don’t know why I remember this, and hearing sirens, like ambulance sirens, and I stopped in my tracks and just like kinda had a bit of a panic attack. But then, just kinda working through it, I would say it definitely changed, I mean one thing that changed is that we realized life is short,” said Blackford.
And, with limited time, comes courageous decisions. Blackford shares what sparked the idea of heading back to Boston and competing for a second time.
“Boston is just, I don’t know, I feel like it’s like the runner’s marathon and it’s what you work for, it’s what you want to do. And I thought, I can’t let it be my one and only.”
While she’s running, she’ll keep one thing in mind:
“Take it in, just enjoy it, enjoy the people, enjoy the crowd, just be in the mile, whatever mile I’m in. I would love to finish under four hours, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m happy to be there, I’m proud to be there, I feel blessed to be there.”