The devastating news from Monday’s Boston Marathon jolted Connie Perez. Members of her local Team in Training for the inaugural Washington, D.C., Rock & Roll Marathon the end of this month were running that day.
Like many who had friends and loved ones taking part in the long-running and internationally popular annual event, she was shocked to learn about the tragic events that unfolded Monday.
“It was totally devastating. It could have been anyone of us out there. Our hearts are broken today – totally,” said the Lathrop born and raised business owner.
Where the explosions took place at the time when the runners were arriving at the finish line “was a very vulnerable position to be in because you are at the finish line, and out of nowhere something so tragic happens,” she said.
After being on edge for what seemed like eons, Perez and members of her Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training were finally contacted by marathon-running friends that they came out of the Monday’s tragedy unscathed.
“Everyone that was with the Team in Training, so far as we know – they are all accounted for,” said a relieved Perez.
On her Facebook page also was her Team in Training’s message to all members. “While Team in Training members did participate in the Boston Marathon today, to our knowledge, none of these participants were injured in the explosions. However, all of us at LLS wish to express our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, and concern for those who suffered injuries due to this terrifying occurrence today,” the message stated.
The Boston tragedy though has not put a damper on Perez’s determination to attend the Washington, D.C., half marathon at the end of the month for which her Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are running. She noted that at the aftermath of a tragic incident like Monday’s explosions, there’s “always tighter security and more vigilance” put in place – “unfortunately.”
Perez is looking forward to the first Washington, D.C., Rock and Roll Marathon not only because of the event’s maiden launch at this location but that this will would also be her second Tiffany necklace, a symbol that she has finished the challenging race. She earned the first one at a marathon for cancer cure in San Francisco a few years ago. Perez already has two marathon and “several half-marathons” under her belt.
She started running marathons 10 years ago following the death of her brother, Tom, who was a doctor in the Manteca-Lathrop area. A graduate of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in Virginia where he specialized in Podiatry, Thomas Lum died just before his 45th birthday of lung cancer. He was “a non-smoking cancer” victim, like the late actress Dana Reeve, wife of the late “Superman” actor Christopher Reeve. The young doctor and East Union High graduate left behind two young children, the older of whom will be attending college this fall.
It was her brother’s death that led to Perez’s involvement in marathons. She started doing it because “it helped me heal” and also helped her “to do something to find a cure for cancer,” Perez said.
Contact Rose Albano Risso at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (209) 249-3536.