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Forest Grove resident on cusp of her first Boston

Laura Lewis, 33, will run in the iconic marathon a year after infamous bombings


by: COURTESY PHOTO: LAURA LEWIS - Runners at the 2013 Eugene Marathon sign a banner to show support for Boston after last year's bombings during the Boston Marathon.Prior to last April, the Boston Marathon was a dream, a goal and a destination for many runners.

Despite last year’s bombings that rocked the city, the running community and the country, this year, it still is. And count Forest Grove resident Laura Lewis among expected 36,000 runners who will flock to the start line in Hopkinton, Mass., on Monday to run it.

Lewis, 33, is one of a dozen western Washington County residents registered for this year’s race, the 118th edition of the marathon. Though she has qualified for the event — participants must achieve a time standard during a qualifying window for entrance —­­ on more than one occasion previously, including for the 2013 race, this will be Lewis’ first Boston.

“After the events of last year, I was more motivated than ever to run Boston, 2014,” Lewis said by email.

A veteran of six marathons, Lewis is a social studies teacher and the activities director at Forest Grove High School. She had qualified for Boston 2013 and had been granted entry, but ultimately she was unable to attend because Forest Grove was staging its prom that weekend.

Like many others, she learned about the bombings from a remote and safe distance — but they still had an impact.

“After school, I spent the entire afternoon glued to the news just waiting and watching,” said Lewis, a 1998 Forest Grove graduate. “Of course, it was a bit eerie to know that there was a chance I could have been there, but that was a very fleeting thought compared to the overwhelming sadness for those directly affected.”

So once more, Lewis set out to qualify for Boston, and she did, just 13 days after the bombings occurred, at the Eugene Marathon. With her time of 3 hours, 28 minutes, 24 seconds, Lewis handily eclipsed the 3:35:00 qualifying standard for women age 34 and younger.

Boston was very much on the minds of the participants in Eugene. The bombings resulted in three deaths and injured well more than 200. At Eugene, many runners wore black ribbons while they raced, Lewis said, and they scrawled their names on large banners of support before the start.

“It was, by far, the best marathon experience I’ve had,” Lewis noted, adding that she hopes Monday’s race goes even better.

Lewis plans to depart for Massachusetts on Saturday. She will be accompanied by her boyfriend, Derrick Jones, and the couple will stay in Cambridge through next Wednesday. In addition to running the marathon, Lewis plans to take a class about Patriots’ Day — the day on which the race is annually staged — and the Revolutionary War. She also plans to visit some museums and monuments.

And then, of course, there is that iconic race that Lewis will get to experience in person for the first time.

“I really only have two goals,” Lewis said. “The first is to finish and the second is to absorb every single ounce of energy and history that I possibly can during the 26.2 mile trek.”

Given that Monday marks the first Boston Marathon to take place since the bombings — the 1-year anniversary was recognized on Tuesday — many are looking back to the events of last year, and many are looking forward to celebrating the marathon and the idea of “Boston Strong,” this Patriots’ Day perhaps more than ever.

“Attendance will be an all-time high and I imagine all the participants will be running with special intent,” Lewis said. “I honestly can’t imagine what the energy will be like when we cross the starting line, let alone the finish line.”




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