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    Posted November 25, 2013 by
    Allston `, Massachusetts
    Related to: Why we're running for Boston
    iReporters share stories with CNN's John Sutter about why they're pledging to run marathons and other races in response to the Boston bombings.
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    2015 Boston Marathon

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    Taking back the streets of Boston


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Ashley Seymour remembers being excited to see her first Boston Marathon last year. She and her roommate were standing on Boylston Street in front of Lord & Taylor near the finish line, when the first bomb went off. “At first it sounded like fireworks or something celebratory at the finish went off at the wrong time. I looked at it and saw the large amount of smoke, and then the second one went off,” said the 23-year-old. “When the second bomb went off it became clear that it wasn't an accident. I turned towards my friend, she grabbed my hand and we ran towards the Prudential.”

    Seymour pledged to Run for Boston after the marathon attack and has since completed two races, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) 10K and the BAA Half Marathon, in spite of tearing her ACL two years ago. “It was the first BAA event after the marathon, and I wanted to be there to show my support for the victims, first responders, and the BAA. Running it wasn't about getting a fast time; it was about finishing the race in honor and memory of the victims of the bombing.”

    “After the marathon, I started running more again to help cope,” Seymour said. “When the bombs went off at the marathon, that changed it all for me. I went from loving the race atmosphere, to wanting to get out of there as fast as I could. Running races and finish lines became associated with fear, and I didn't want that. I wanted to prove to myself that I could enjoy the sport I love and not be afraid.”
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    I've completed 2 races since I pledged to run for Boston: the BAA 10K and BAA Half Marathon.

    I was at the marathon near the finish line when the bombs went off. When we saw the first one, we weren't sure what was going on, but by the second one we were running the opposite way as fast as we could. I've never been so scared in my life and I thought they were going to keep going off down the street. For a while I would wake up in a panic in the middle of the night, loud noises would easily startle me, I avoided large crowds, and didn't walk down Boylston street for a few month.

    Running these two races has helped me cope. Knowing that I was running for Boston and for all of the victims kept me going as I ran. I was filled with emotions at the 10k, as it was the first race I ran after the marathon. However, finishing it was a way to heal and to take back the streets of Boston.
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