In the sea of runners pounding the pavement for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, you will find a husband and wife from Missouri running together with one goal in mind.
Michael and Chau Smith want to finish the marathon in memory of Boston.
"The day before we were in a celebratory mood knowing that she was going to be running one of the most famous races in the world," Michael Smith told 2News anchor Karen Larsen.
Chau Smith had qualified for the Boston marathon. They toured Boston's race sites, and even practiced her pose at the finish line the day before the marathon. While she ran, he took pictures.
"The camera was directly trained on the flags where the first bomb was planted," Michael said. "At that point, I didn't know what was going on - I was still pretty excited about seeing the runners. Then when the bomb went off, I was terrified because I didn't know where Chau was."
Like hundreds of other runners, she had only one mile to go. When runners began stopping in front of her, she first tried dodging them but soon had to stop, too. She describes the runners milling about in confusion and wondering what had happened. Chau said she was still hoping to finish the marathon.
"But then the second bomb went off and everybody knew that our dream of the finish line was over," Chau Smith said.
"I was sad, of course. Then angry at times thinking about who would do this to us," Michael added. "Then, the next day when she was holding that picture, we were walking and still trying to absorb what went on."
They quickly returned to their home in Oak Grove, a suburb of Kansas City. Both say the attack left them grieving until Chau spotted the invitation from Oklahoma City to finish her race.
"Then we realized it was a memorial run for all of the people who died in that particular bombing," Chau said. "And it all seemed right."
This time, Michael is running with Chau in the "Race to Remember". It is his first marathon and her 40th. While they run in Oklahoma City, both say they will remember the terror attacks that both cities survived.
"I think that it's the right place for me to experience that. And hopefully I can bring some peace," Chau said. Her husband added, "We'd like to get past something that's been an awful thing in our lives. Bond with people there. Celebrate. We are all Americans and bound by our common citizenship."
From start to finish in Oklahoma City, Chau and Michael vow that nothing is going to stop them from finishing this marathon.
For coverage of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon go to www.kjrh.com/okcmarathon. We will live stream our broadcast from the race Sunday beginning at 7 a.m.
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