The Andover Townsman
---- — For some, it was a chance to finish what they had started before two bombs stopped them in their tracks.
For others — including two mothers whose sons were among the injured, it was a way to honor the victims and responders who have persevered in the wake of the Boston Marathon.
More than 250 people — double last year’s field — turned out for the third annual A Better Chance Fun Run & Walk on Sunday, April 28.
This year’s event included a moment of silence honoring the Boston Marathon bombing victims, their families and the running community. It also served to celebrate the resilient and generous spirit that Boston has shown the world.
ABC student Ariel Leachman read a quote from President Barak Obama and the crowd stood in silence for the moment of remembrance. In addition, race participants wore blue and yellow ribbons and wrote words of appreciation and encouragement on a reflections poster.
Several runners who ran the Boston Marathon April 15 took to the streets for the 5K.
Gisela Yepez of Andover and her family friend from California, Katherine Hern — whose sons David Yepez and Aaron Hern were injured at the Marathon finish line — also ran the 5K side by side and shared an emotional moment at the end, embracing as they crossed the finish line together.
A portion of the $5,000 raised will be donated to the One Fund Boston.
In addition to honoring the Marathon victims, the event was also a family affair for many of the runners. Infants were pushed in strollers and multiple parent-child entrants enjoyed the race together, including A Better Chance scholar Xonatia Lee who was joined by her mother, Marsha, and brother Rhyeem, who came up from Brooklyn for the race. Rhyeem ran a personal best to come in third overall.
Other top finishers included Todd Collins, 34, of Andover, who was the first male finisher with a time of 16:35; Emily Tremaine, 27, of Arlington, the first-place female finisher with a time of 20:39; and Scott Diekema, a Phillips Academy student from Iowa City, Iowa, who won first in the under-18 category with a time of 17:47. First-, second- and third-place finishers in each division received gift certificates from race sponsor Greater Boston Running Company.
All seven of the ABC scholars were in attendance, along with house staff.
“Friends old and new to A Better Chance joined us today,” ABC President Mary Pritchard said in a release. “We had such a festive atmosphere and we are so appreciative of all the support we received from the runners, walkers, the cheering section and local businesses.”
In addition to Greater Boston Running Company, local business sponsors included Tewksbury Physical Therapy, Optimum Sportswear, North Andover Pediatrics, Black Diamond Networks, TD Bank, Whole Foods, SNAP Infusion, Enterprise Bank, Panera Bread, Lois Lombardo, DDS; Commonwealth Motors, Salvatore’s Restaurant, Chama Grill, EXIT Group One Real Estate, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Learning Express, Gath Sign Company and Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc.
Andover ABC is an affiliate of a national nonprofit organization that provides academically talented students of color the opportunity to live at the ABC House and prepare for college at Andover High School. Visit ww.andoverabc.org for more.