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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Relay for marathon bombing victims travels through Rolla

  • John Kohler was running in the Boston Marathon in April of last year when the bombings killed three and injured over 200 racers and spectators.
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  • John Kohler was running in the Boston Marathon in April of last year when the bombings killed three and injured over 200 racers and spectators.
    Kohler had completed the marathon when the bombs exploded near his feet. While he wasn't injured, he wanted to help those who were hurt.
    In June of 2013, Kohler took part in the first One Run For Boston, a non-stop running relay from Los Angeles to Boston in aid of the One Fund Boston that helps the victims and families of the attacks.
    Kohler and Tad Kardis, both of Olathe, Kan., were joined by two other runners for the first One Run For Boston last year for a stage in Phelps County.
    Then on Wednesday morning, just the two of them — Kohler and Kardis — completed the same 11-mile-leg from Newburg to Rolla again in the second One Run For Boston.
    “Witnessing, firsthand, the love in the wake of such a tragedy has inspired me to support and raise continued awareness for those most affected,” Kohler wrote on the cross-country relay’s website, onerunforboston.org.
    This year’s relay began March 16 in Los Angeles and ends Sunday, April 13, in Boston, less than a week before this year’s marathon.
    Kardis said he plans to run in this year’s Boston Marathon.
    “I was just so emotionally affected,” Kardis said after hearing of last year’s bombings.
    Kardis said he appreciated all of the people who waved or said hello as he and Kohler ran their leg of the race. Kardis also expressed his gratitude to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, which acted as an escort for the runners to make sure they stayed safe on the roads during their run.
    The two men ended their stage of the relay on Old St. James Road at Forum Drive just as the rain started Wednesday morning. This year’s weather was much cooler than the first run, which took place in the heat of July.
    “It was perfect conditions,” Kardis said.
    Kohler and Kardis then passed the torch — literally — to the next runner Mike McKellips, of Cuba, Mo., who would run half of the 13-mile leg from Rolla to Rosati. Running the other half of the leg was Donielle Farrar, of Owensville, who wrote on the onerunforboston.org website that she is running to show her “support and be a part of something great.”
    While Kohler and Kardis ran the relay before, both McKellips and Farrar ran in the relay for the first time this year.
    Farrar, who said she recently had problems with her hip, and McKellips, who said he had recently had rotator cuff surgery, joked that they were quite a team of runners. However, they weren’t letting those setbacks keeping them from participating.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I felt for everyone,” Farrar said of the victims of the bombings.
    Both Farrar and McKellips said they felt “anxious” and “interested” to see how they would do before their turn.
    In 2013, over 2,000 runners helped complete the 3,300-mile relay and raised $91,000 for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
    Organizers are pushing to raise $1 million from this year's One Run for Boston, which is following the same route as last year through the 14 states.
    The race is divided into 330 segments, with an average length of 10 miles.
    To see a live map of where the runners and torch are or have been, visit www.onerunforboston.org/live.

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