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Still running strong

Posted: April 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Dennis Lebman wears a jacket he received for participating in last year's Boston Marathon. The SCV resident is back on the streets of Boston today to run again. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

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Local marathon runner Dennis Lebman never got a chance to celebrate after completing last year’s Boston Marathon, so now he’s going back to run again in one of the world’s most renowned foot race, determined to let terrorists know that he and his fellow runners are unshaken, he said.

“I felt it was still unfinished business, since I didn’t get a chance to celebrate,”he said during an interview Thursday, three days before he headed east to run in today’s Boston Marathon.

“And, it’s for some closure,” he added. “But, we’re all running for those who were involved and those who were killed. We want the (terrorists) to know they messed with the wrong people. They’re not going to stop us.”

“The theme of this year’s marathon is ‘We run together.’ There’s a bond we have,” he said.

Lebman, a member of the Santa Clarita Runners Club with three completed Santa Clarita Marathons to his credit, crossed the Boston Marathon finish line at 2:10 p.m. on April 15, 2013, with a time of 3 hours 38 minutes and 19 seconds.

At 2:49 p.m. on April 15, almost three hours after the winners crossed the finish line and 39 minutes after Lebman finished, two explosions went off.

Three spectators were killed and more than 200 people were injured.

By then Lebman had collapsed back at the hostel where he was staying with friends who had also run, all of them “shivering and shaking” from the race. They didn’t know what had happened butnoticed the continuous sound of sirens.

That’s when he and the others began receiving cellphone calls from friends inquiring about their well-being.

“After I showered and changed, we were all glued to the TV coverage in the hostel,” he said. “The authorities were asking us not to leave the hostel.

“That made me kind of nervous — the uncertainty of what’s going on,” he said. “The sirens kept going for hours it seemed. I was shaking and felt sorry for the injured.

“I kept thinking, ‘What if I was slower? What if I was there?’ It was bad enough seeing the TV coverage,” he said. “I was freaked out a little bit.”

This year Lebman expects to come nowhere close to matching the finish time he set last year in light of a heel injury that has sidelined him from running and training.

“My time will be a lot slower,” he said Thursday. “I plan to start at the starting line and make it to the finish line.”

Some 27,000 runners took part in the 26.2-mile race last year, one of the world’s premier marathons. Lebman calls it the race “every runner aspires to.”

At least 15 Santa Clarita Valley marathon runners competed last year, and they monitored developments on the explosions throughout the day on a Facebook page maintained by the Santa Clarita Runners Club.

“Unless you were there to experience it, you can’t really know,” he said. “I think we (Boston Marathon runners) felt a lot of pain.

“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t feel that pain,” he said.
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