Griffin’s Friends escape injury

BOSTON – A group of Boston Marathon runners posed for a photograph before the race, about 20 people running for the first time with the Griffin’s Friends, and for some of those runners, running their first Boston Marathon ever.
Team Griffin was formed 20 years ago by the family and friends of Griffin D. Kelleher in memory of the child who died from cancer at 14 months of age. The Griffin’s Friends Children’s Cancer Fund at Baystate Health Foundation Inc., was represented by about 130 runners yesterday, many of whom had just finished the 26-mile course and were walking back to the buses for their trip back to Springfield.
Tina Gorman, executive director of the Westfield Council on Aging, was working and waiting for word from her husband Gary, a Team Griffin runner who ran his first Boston Marathon yesterday.
Tina said that she was waiting for a call saying that Gary had finished the race and was well.
“He called at about 3:15 and left voice mail,” Tina said. “He said there was complete chaos, sirens and lights.”
Not the message Tina Gorman was expecting because she had not heard the news about the explosions near the finish line.
Gary Gorman, upon his return to western Massachusetts with other Team Griffin runners, said the explosion was several hundred yards before the finish line.
“I was maybe within 10 minutes of the explosion when I crossed the line,” Gary Gorman said.
Gorman grabbed a thermal cape and was walking down the line of buses staged to transport the thousands of runners in the race.
“Team Griffin has two Peter Pan buses parked down by the Boston Public Gardens, about four blocks past the finish line,” Gorman said. “Then there was an explosion that sounded like a cannon they shot at football games to celebrate a score.”
The police stopped the race and runners were diverted down Commonwealth Avenue.
“Those streets were just lined with fans, police and race staff, that whole area was just packed with people,” Gorman said. “The police and staff were just trying to get people out of there, out of the area.”
“Gratefully, I had already passed through that area. Honestly, my feet were just shuffling the last part of the race. A feather could have knocked over runners,” Gorman said. “We had to wait to account for everybody. We were concerned for quite some time. Thankfully, we were all OK. I think that all of the groups from western Massachusetts were OK.”
“This was the 19th year that the Griffin Friends have run as a group. There were about 130 Team Griffin runners. We packed two buses. That was a new Team Griffin record for the number of runners,” Gorman said. “There’s a bug of excitement in running with a bunch of other people, not just pounding the pavement by yourself.”
The Kelleher family spearheaded Griffin’s Friends to raise money to support families of children being treated for cancer at the Baystate Medical Center.
“It’s to help the parents and siblings of kids being treated, like a local ‘Make a Wish’ program,” Gorman said.

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