HURRICANE – Saturday marked the fourth annual Sand Hollow Marathon with runners starting at 8 a.m. on State Street and 100 West in front of the Hurricane Community Center, with 180 runners from across the nation. Among the pack were Matt Ebiner and Travis Miller, who both ran last year’s Boston Marathon, now infamous for the bombing that occurred there. The two recalled their Boston experience with St. George News and their plans to return to Boston for another run in April.
Southern Utah is a far cry from Boston but the spirit of marathoners is universal wherever these athletes run. Along the 26.2 Sand Hollow Marathon course, one could see that determination, the often-present runner’s high, friends and family in support of their runners’ quest, as some 180 runners from across the nation pressed their way along a course blessed with beauty for the eyes and washed in warmth as temperatures reached a high of about 70 degrees.
Finishing first at the Sand Hollow Marathon were Matt Ebiner, from Covina, Calif., and Amber Green, of St. George, for men’s and women’s categories, respectively. Consult the race website here for more results, which have not yet been posted as this report is published.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
Sand Hollow top finishers recall Boston Marathon bombing
Ebiner crossed the Sand Hollow finish line, finishing the marathon in 2 hours, 42 minutes, 45 seconds. Just a few minutes later, Travis Miller from Manti, Utah, followed Ebiner in third place. Nearly one year ago, both runners also crossed the Boston Marathon finish line before bombs went off injuring more than 260 people and killing three.
“I was already at a restaurant eating lunch when I first posted something on Facebook about my time. I got a lot of comments I saw on my phone about congratulating me and then the comments started mentioning something about, ‘Thank God you are safe, that is so terrible.’ I had no idea,” said Ebiner. “When we left the restaurant there were helicopters all over and emergency vehicles was all you could hear. It was pretty intense.”
The experience was similar for Travis Miller and his wife, Angela Miller.
“It is packed almost the whole way and people are just lined the whole way,” said Travis Miller. “We went down to the subway and they evacuated the subway. We got out to the street, we didn’t know what happened. It was just kind of an eerie feeling.”
The Millers began to receive text messages asking if they were ok and safe. They were informed of the bombing by those who texted them. “It was just quiet, because we all knew something was going on. It was just quiet and you could hear the sirens in the distance,” said Angela Miller.
After running a marathon, the Miller family had to rush back three miles to where their car was located. They had four children ages 1, 2, 5, and 7, with them.
There was so much confusion for everyone to get back home that some people were walking on the highway to get out of the city. Though runners had made plans to meet up with their family and get back to their cars, it was nearly impossible because the subway systems and many roads were closed. Throughout the day, the Millers were only able to receive two phone calls because the cell towers were extremely backed up.
Both Ebiner and Travis Miller plan to run in the Boston Marathon that is coming up on April 21. With heightened security and safety precautions assured, neither of the runners are nervous to go back to run in Boston and each said they anticipate the reunion of the bombing to be very special.
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