Marathon runners complete unfinished business - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Marathon runners complete unfinished business

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Amy Sullivan and Chris Russell Amy Sullivan and Chris Russell
MANCHESTER, Vt. -

"Awesome -- I lost it when I finished I have to say, but it was great. It was great," said Amy Sullivan. 

The 2013 Boston Marathon runner was all smiles as she and 450 other runners crossed the finish line of the 3rd annual Shires Marathon. The scenic course winds through the mountains -- from Bennington to Manchester.  And despite course difficulty, participation is on the rise.

"We started out at about 360 the first year and similar last year -- and now we are up to 450. And as word gets out and people hear what a nice course it is, we hope the numbers will continue to grow," said marathon Co-Director, David Durfee.

And despite top performances from male and female winners, many were there to cheer on special guests.  "We had about 35 runners from Boston who had gotten part way through the course but weren't able to complete it -- and hopefully they are finishing the course today," Durfee said.

Running partners and Massachusetts natives, Amy Sullivan and Chris Russell, were among those running on the day of the Boston bombings. Neither were able to complete the race and say coming so close to the finish line was discouraging.

"It would have been my 15th Boston and I was having a really bad day, so I was more concerned about my friends and the people involved, than me finishing the race since I have done it so many times," Russell said.

He says they jumped on the open invitation to run for free in Sunday's marathon. And for Sullivan -- she was finally able to complete a personal and only best. "Today was my first time finishing a marathon. I didn't get to finish Boston, so they let us come up here and finish what we started. So today was my first official marathon," she said.

Mile after mile, the runners pushed on. And for some who never finished in Boston, crossing the finish line was rewarding and emotional.

"Try not to cry, but I had a hard time. Try not to cry finishing, but I was just happy to see my husband at the finish line and give him a hug. I am so happy -- I finished my first marathon," Sullivan said.

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