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Running by Budd Bailey: Return to Boston Marathon full of emotion

The last time Carolyn Corgel checked in with this column, she was just back from the Boston Marathon a year ago. She was forced to stop short of the finish line because of the terrorist bombings. Her trip this year perhaps turned out to be more emotional that last year’s.

Corgel wasn’t sure if she’d return to Boston in 2014, but made up her mind a few days later.

“It wasn’t until Solidarity Day that I decided I was going to do it,” the Springville resident said, referring to runs staged in response to the incident that were held across the country. “Last year was going to be my last run, my last Boston. Obviously it didn’t turn out the way I planned.”

Corgel thus set her sights, again, on Boston. She put up with a difficult winter, saying that “I got tired of using the treadmill really fast.” Before she knew it, she had arrived in Boston on Friday, April 18.

“I couldn’t believe I was there,” she said. “It was a totally different feeling than the year before, and the others. This was my 10th run in Boston; I’ve qualified for 12.”

Just to show that even veteran runners can become excited at taking part in one of the world’s great races, Corgel moved her wake-up time at the last hour from 5:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Monday, prepared for the race, and headed for the bus to Hopkinton for the start.

“I think the first difference I noticed is that they checked our bibs,” she said. “I wasn’t supposed to get on a bus as early as that, but I said, ‘Please, let me on, I’m going to be nervous.’

“I was just hoping nothing would happen. I was hoping the whole family would be intact nine hours later. I left it up to the police in Boston.”

Corgel’s husband, daughters and daughters’ husbands were there to cheer her on along the way. Her wave of runners finally had the chance to run at 11 a.m.

“The crowds were huge, except for the start. I remember going down the hill at the start in the past with tons and tons of people. I got to thinking, I wonder if they didn’t allow the numbers of people at the beginning this time. It picked up after that, about a half-mile in. The crowds were huge. I thought there was only about a mile where people weren’t lined up three-deep.”

“I very much appreciated the people that were out there. We once again showed that the United States was not going to let something stand in our way.”

Corgel had been bothered with some injuries, so she wasn’t too worried about her time — she just did the best she could. The wave of emotion she was carrying with her started to come out near the finish.

“I was probably two-thirds of a mile out and I saw the Citgo sign and the Prudential Center” by the finish, she said. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m doing it again, and nobody’s going to stop me this time.’ I was choking up but going forward. I hit the spot where I stopped last year and choked up, thinking this was where it happened.

“I kept going. I turned left on to Boylston Street and thought, ‘Oh my God, they didn’t take it away from me. I’m back again. I did it.’ I crossed the finish line, and I teared up.”

Naturally, she wasn’t the only one.

“I remember that there were people who had qualified year after year and never came back, but they came this year,” Corgel said. “They wanted to prove a point. That point was, nobody was going to stop us.”

Corgel finished the race in 4 hours, 6 minutes and 51 seconds. By the way, the timing clock read 4:09:43 a year ago when the first bomb exploded at the finish line.

With that, Corgel’s time as a Boston runner was over. She has other goals to conquer, and she’ll have to run other spring marathons besides Boston to accomplish them.

“I’m trying to do marathons in 50 states. I’m on 34 states,” she said. “I can’t keep doing Boston and do all the other races. I have to choose. … There are three or four other marathons right around then, and I want to attain my goal.”

Race calendar

• Laps for Limbs, one hour run, St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, 9 a.m. Sunday, (607) 435-8715.

• NCCC Alumni Association 5K Run, NCCC in Sanborn, 6 p.m. Friday, 614-6231.

• GBTC Grand Island Half-Marathon (and 10K), Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island, 9 a.m. Saturday.

• Putting Hunger on the Run 5K, 320 Porter Ave. in Buffalo, 9 a.m. Saturday, 884-5375.

• Allegany Adventure Runs, various, Allegany State Park in Salamanca, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 574-0888.

• Rivershore 5K, 100 Center St. in Lewiston, 11 a.m. Saturday, 754-7272.

• Terri Krieger Memorial 5K, 189 North Gravel Road in Medina, 2 p.m. Saturday, (585) 589-5516, Ext. 226.

• Cinco de Mayo 5K, 383 Davison Road in Lockport, 11 a.m. on May 4.