MADISON (WKOW) -- Tuesday marks one year since the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than 200 injured by explosions at the finish line.
Many runners from the Madison area competed in last year’s marathon and one tell us he spent months trying to decide if he wanted to return this year.
“It's where people go who like to run marathons,” said Greg Pavek.
On April 15, 2013 Greg geared up to run his 6th Boston Marathon.
“My run started at 10:40 in the morning,” Greg said. “And I was in wave three so I was back with the old runners in the marathon.”
Greg felt good about his time as he headed down Boylston Street, just a few blocks from the finish line.
“I remember looking for the 26 mile marker because I wanted to know, I only have 2/10 of a mile to go,” Greg said. “And down at the finish line I could see and I heard this noise. Smoke billowed up in to the sky.”
And about 13 seconds later- a second explosion.
“That's when I realized what had happened down at the finish line,” Greg said. “And I knew my wife was sitting at the VIP box, at the finish line and I became very concerned.”
Two police officers stopped Greg from going any farther. He couldn't get to the box, directly across the street from bomb one, where his wife, Jackie, was seated.
“I tried to call my wife's cell phone and I couldn't get it,” Greg said. “So I tried again and I couldn't get it. So I called my son in Madison and he said mom's ok. And I said I'm ok. And about half an hour later we found each other.”
Greg was one of about 5700 runners who didn't cross the finish line that day. That group was offered automatic qualification for this year's marathon, but registration forms had to be submitted by August 29. Greg chose not register.
“The reason it's hard is I've never seen a person without a leg, lying in the street,” Greg said. “And it happened so fast, and I feel I should have stopped and helped her, and the other people lying next to her, but my deep concern was where is my wife and what had happened to her. Especially after I saw the carnage.”
That day didn't stop Greg from running all together though. Last fall he competed in the Haunted Hustle marathon in Middleton. He finished with a time that qualified him for Boston.
Again, he had a choice to make.
“I was talking to my wife and, especially runners, everybody, you wanna finish what you start,” Greg said. “Something about a human, you wanna do that I guess, it's built in to us. I don't know if it's a selfish reason or what but that's probably the main reason- I'd like to finish it.”
So he registered. And on April 21 Greg will run his 7th Boston Marathon. And Jackie will be there cheering him on.
“She's probably more on board than I was, she's been more on board recently than I have been,” Greg said.
For Greg, running down Boylston Street, finishing those last two tenths of a mile will be a few strides toward moving forward, a process that is itself, a marathon.
“Times a healer,” Greg said. “Time takes care of many things.”
Greg and his wife are driving out to Boston She plans to cheer him on, but will not be watching from the finish line.
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