Much praise was extended to the race organizers for bringing the community together behind such a worthy cause.
Leading the way with her admiration was Catrina Peck, DeWitt’s fiancee. Her family will be the 200th Homes For Our Troops recipients later this year when they move into their new, specially equipped house in Concord, N.H. — thanks in part to the support of the runners on Sunday.
While DeWitt was away on training over the weekend and could not attend the race, Peck ran the course with her young son, Reed. And she couldn’t have been more grateful for the show of warmth and support she and her son felt along the way.
“The camaraderie here today is just wonderful,” she said after crossing the finish line.
Merrimack Valley Striders team member Chuck McAllister, who ran the race with about 90 other participants from his group, perhaps spoke for many when he said the reason for his involvement “is obvious.”
“You meet the people who ... have given much more than I’ve ever had to, and you get a little teary-eyed thinking about it,” he said. “They’ve done so much for us. We really need to give back.”
In just about 10 days, the Boston Marathon will return to the streets of a city that suffered the unthinkable one year ago. Boston Strong will ring out from all along the 26-mile route.
But this past Sunday, this community displayed its very own version of what could be called Andover Strong. And for that, the town should be immensely proud.