Local runner Josh Erhard is still running, and it’s likely he won’t stop soon.
Sure, the former Friendship Christian School cross country standout and 2010 graduate was rocked after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line one year ago Tuesday only less than an hour after he finished the race.
It would be easy for anyone to hang up his or her running shoes after three people were killed and hundreds more injured near the very spot where his parents were standing only 45 minutes prior.
But not Erhard.
“I don’t take things for granted nearly as much,” he said. “It really strengthened my spiritual life. I actually was baptized that summer after the marathon. I think about the fact that my mother and father were standing right there about 45 minutes before the bombs exploded and how much I appreciate my parents are still around.”
Tuesday evening, Erhard said a flurry of emotions came rushing back after he watched the scenes replayed on television, as well as memorials held in tribute to those who died or were injured.
“Seeing the pictures has definitely brought back a lot of emotions for me,” Erhard said. “I had to fight back the tears watching all of it. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to honor those who were killed and injured in the attack. I think I am going to run a race Saturday in Lebanon and paint ‘Boston strong’ on myself.”
The race Saturday is the Superhero 5K to benefit CASA. It begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Wilson County Fairgrounds.
Erhard is also coming off a win in the men’s division at the recent Roar Run to benefit Byars Dowdy Elementary School.
Erhard plans to begin his fifth year at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the fall and hopes to create a 5K race in Chattanooga this summer to benefit Run4Water. His former cross country coach at Friendship, Greg Armstrong, started the organization, which funds water supply efforts to areas around the world. Erhard is on the board of directors.
“That’s hopefully going to be my pride and joy,” Erhard said. “With this being such a running community in Chattanooga, we hope to bring the kind of success it’s seen in Lebanon.”
For all the bad the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing brought, it’s nice to see some good also come out of it.