Fil-Am Raymond Martin finishes Boston Marathon's wheelchair race with personal best record

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 22, 2014

BOSTON, MA – It was a day of victory in Boston, especially for the hundreds of runners whose victories were denied after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured 264 others.

It was also a day of victory for some Filipinos who ran the 2014 Boston Marathon including Fil-Am athlete Raymond Martin.

“If you’re trying to break the human spirit, marathoners are the worst people to target because people run 26 miles for fun,” Raymond Martin said. It was a quote he read just days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

For that same reason, the Filipino-American athlete said he came back to the City of Champions for his second Boston Marathon run.

Martin, a four-time Paralympic gold medalist crossed the 118th Boston Marathon’s finish line with a personal best of 1:48:26, placing 39th overall and 2nd in his age division.
The 20-year-old Push Rim Wheelchair Division racer broke his own 2013 personal record of 2:01:29.

Martin said, “I beat it by 11 minutes so I was really excited to cross at 1:48.”

Martin’s mom, April, said the whole family is thankful that the Filipino Paralympic star was long gone when the two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line last year.

“Last year the second bomb was across the street from where we were staying or from where we were standing when Raymond passed, so we were there, just two to three hours before the bomb exploded,” she said. “It was really scary.”

Martin’s father Danny said, “Raymond insisted that he was going to return back to Boston and he was determined to do this race no matter what. I’m ecstatic that we’re all here and Raymond finished safely.”

“We have to show to them, those people, that want to do bad things to other people that we’re not afraid to face them,” Martin’s lola Julita Abano said.

Security was airtight at the finish line, every entrance secured, every bag checked, and everyone remained vigilant.

Yet no one complained. Residents believe this is the new normal for large public events such as the 2014 Boston Marathon.

“As you can see there’s police here everywhere on the finish line, so definitely a lot tighter than in previous years,” four-time Boston Marathon runner Arland Macasieb said. “It’s just like after 9-11. After 9-11 we’ll never be able to get into airport without having to go through security like we do now. I definitely feel secure.”

For many runners, Monday’s marathon was a powerful act of defiance against terrorism, with some 36,000 runners from across the globe and tens of thousands of spectators refusing to live in fear.

“I wanted to show that the marathon community is a strong community,” Filipino Boston Marathon runner Wilmer Gange said. “We support Boston. We support the community. I wanted to come back and support the city, support the community and really want to take the city back.”

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