Valley runners ready to help take back Boston Marathon

The Fresno BeeApril 16, 2014 

Brad Castillo, left, hugs Michele Van Ornum, right, after Castillo symbolically finished the Boston Marathon after participating in the Love To Boston run on Sunday morning, April 21, 2013, in Fresno. Organizers originally hoped for about 35-40 people to show when the run was planned a week ago. Over 1,000 runners participated in Sunday's run according to David Larson, president of the Sierra Challenge Express running club which organized the run.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

More than 40 runners from the central San Joaquin Valley will make the trip to Boston this week for that city's 118th marathon on Monday.

Of course, that barely does the occasion justice.

A year after two bombs killed four and injured more than 250 near the finish, this year's race marks a taking back of sorts of a national tradition.

"This year will be the pinnacle of what the Boston Marathon represents because this is the year to show what this country is made of," former Fresno City Council Member Brad Castillo said.

Castillo waited 17 years to qualify for the marathon, only to be one of the 5,633 runners stopped along the second half of the 26.2-mile course after the terrorist attack.

"It was something I worked and trained for 17 years so I have unfinished business," Castillo said. "I'm very excited to finally cross the finish line that I've been dreaming about for the past 18 years. "

For Fresno attorney Amanda Whitten, this will be her fourth trip.

"I'm definitely just as excited as I have been every year," the 31-year-old said.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious in returning, but I'm hopeful. I trust the city of Boston and I trust they're going to take care of us," she said. "I'm looking forward to getting the race done and restoring the Boston Marathon to what it once was and not about what happened last year."

OFF THEY GO ... 

Valley runners competing in the Boston Marathon

Ahwahnee (1): David Miller

Bakersfield (12): Michael Brazzell, Allan Fetters, Emilee Gonsalves, Denise Jorgensen, Brian Lee, Ryan Lucker, Jose Montelongo Jr., David Plyler, Pamela Plyler, Noel Velasco, Richard Walton, Jonathan Wykoff

Clovis (4): Shelley Bryant, Mark Dorman, Audrey Monke, Steven Monke

Fresno (12): Susan Bonds, Brad Castillo, Tracy Coke, J.K. Lundberg, Rudy Montoya, Shelly Montoya, Alan Perry, Martin Rindahl, Suzanne Sobenes, John Volkman, Jim Wagoner (pushing his son Colby), Amanda Whitten

Hanford (3): Yvonne Jessup, Daniel T. Quinn, Robert Ramirez Jr.

Madera (1): Benjamin Madrigal

McFarland (1): Luz Bravo-Rios

Merced (1): James Bond Sr.

Sanger (1): Phillip Gonzalez

Visalia (12): Andres Aguinaga, Michael W. Baumann, Rebecca Bodensteiner, Albert Chaves, Jacqueline Gaebe, Sally Lovejoy, Dan Maxey, Al Morales, Charaighn Sesock, Brittani Snyder, Brian Stagg, Matt Stovall

Know of someone running in the marathon? Send contact information to sports@fresnobee.com

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6401, amoreno@fresnobee.com or @anhelllll on Twitter.

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