Feature Story

Local Runner Heads Back to Boston 

Nearly a year later, runners are lacing up their shoes and are returning back to the Boston Marathon with gold medals and heavy hearts.

And Nicole Lemal is one of those doing just that. She will be taking to the streets of Boston for the 3rd year in a row. Nicole crossed the finish line just moments before last years bombing and says it’s a day she will never forget.

“I was getting text messages from friends saying ‘we think there were bombing at the finish line and are you okay?'”. When I kept getting those messages asking if I was okay, that just reiterated to me even more what was really going on and that I was in a very dangerous situation,” said Lemal.

Nicole experienced the tragedy first hand, both as a victim and as a reporter trying to get the story out.

“I was trying to talk to my employer, trying to get tweets out to them, and pictures. All while I’m trying to figure out whether I’m safe,” said Lemal.

Fate has seemed to bring Nicole back to Boston. She had no intentions of returning this year because of the costs, unitil something pulled her back. She entered an essay contest and with the help of her fiance she found herself going back to the starting line.

“You could write about your experience last year and how connected you were to it and how it affected you. They took so many entires from that and let those people into the race. And I was one of them. My fiance told me that if I got in, he would pay for it and he has. I think I’m just meant to be here,” said Lemal.

Nicole says returning isn’t easy, but it’s something she feels she has to do. She says it will be tough to run past the pain, but she is determined to stay Boston strong.

“I love Boston. I actually have a shirt that was just made, my trainer made it for me. It says ‘WV Mountaineer roots with a Bostonian heart’. I think that describes me well. I’m a Mountaineer at heart, but my hearts is always in Boston and it always will be. I feel safe going back and I don’t want to live my life in fear,” said Lemal.

Like so many others, Nicole says the race is a way for her to honor the victims and show that she is a survivor.

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