The Boston marathon is a special event. One has to earn the right to compete, and each year, some 25,000 runners struggle to overcome the demons that plague every step of the more than 26 miles of the race. Runners compete for a variety of reasons; some because they love the sport, others to prove something to themselves, others love the competition. Regardless of the reasons, thousands take to the streets of the city—none expecting the events that unfolded on April 15.
One of those runners was a Rogue Valley native, Mandy Lozano, a 1995 graduate of Butte Falls High School. This was her third marathon. Mandy was running for the pure pleasure of running and for the total experience of the celebrated affair. She had finished the race about 30 minutes prior to the time of the bombing and had moved away from the finish line to clear the area for runners who were yet to finish. When she and her boyfriend heard the report, they thought it anything but a bomb. Mandy says it sounded like it might have been a piece of equipment falling or perhaps a noise from the subway. During that time, thousands of screaming fans caused confusion so it was already chaotic near the finish line.
When they finally realized that something was not right, they moved to a subway entrance only to find it not operating. So they walked another mile on wobbly legs to another entrance as dozens of police cars whizzed by. Finally they found the subway entrance and boarded the train back to their hotel. They had escaped unharmed and never saw the situation that unfolded at the finish line.
Frantically, Mandy and her boyfriend, Troy Figgins, searched for a way to let everyone know they were well. Finally, they hit on Facebook and let friends, family and co workers know the situation.
Mandy has nothing but praise for the public safety workers. “That city amazes me. The First Responders and Law Enforcement are amazing and continue to impress me with their professionalism and refusal to pass harsh judgment on the accused bombers. It is incredible to see; the people of Boston are not full of hate. They are resilient and grounded and of great character.”
Mandy, now a resident of Dallas, Tx., is a believer in people. “On that day, I believe that the selfish and hateful act of those two men was completely overshadowed by the outpouring of generosity, compassion and love of hundreds of millions who extended their help and positive thoughts. Because of that I will continue to have faith in humanity. Because if I don’t, then the terrorists win.”
Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding this, her first Boston Marathon, Mandy has decided to run again in the Founders Day event, and has set a goal of 3:00 time for the 26 miles. She has time to train, because she intends to skip the 2014 race and concentrate on 2015. Mandy is currently brand manager for Stacy’s Pita Chips, a division of Frito-Lay.