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Marathoners raising money for BPS causes are safe but shaken

Posted by Justin Rice  April 16, 2013 12:34 PM

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Running the Boston Marathon separately Monday morning, Elizabeth Collins and Angeli Kadade were stopped about a mile away from the finish line’s carnage.

Collins, a Boston resident who was raising money for the Boston Scholar Athletes program for the second straight year, was able to navigate the chaos and make her way to family relatively easily, But Kadade, who was in town from New York City to run for the Dream Big! foundation, was totally lost in the aftermath.

“I’m not familiar with Boston at all," said Kadade. "I was asking other people where the Westin is. I was in panic mode to get there."

Kadade didn’t meet up with family at the hotel until after 8:30 p.m. -- and after strangers let her wash up at their room in the Sheraton.

“I think after running 26 miles you're already so drained, then it was pure adrenaline," she said. "We were upset we weren’t able to finish, then we were cold and our body heat dropped. Then once we found out what happened, everyone considered family and friends were like, ‘Get me out of here.' ''

Initially, Collins was just as disappointed as Kadade that she wasn’t able to finish. After getting news of the bombing that killed three and injured scores, Collins was just as panicked (and freezing) as Kadade.

But being a Bostonian made meeting up with family much easier for Collins.

“My family came to find me and I went to Mass Ave. to walk down the river to Beacon Hill to get away,” Collins said. “It was like a total free-for-all.”

While the experiences of these two strangers are on the opposite ends of a spectrum in one sense, it no doubt was a shared experience for two women running for causes that benefit Boston Public School students by promoting physical activity.

The Boston Scholar Athletes program and Dream Big! were two of several nonprofits entirely or partially dedicated to BPS students that raised money through the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and John Hancock's Marathon Non-Profit Program.

Several other charities that benefited BPS students that were contacted Tuesday morning reported that their runners were unharmed. They include MetroLacrosse, Playworks, Tenacity, and America SCORES Boston.

Together, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program are expected to raise $18 million this year.

So far, BSA has raised $23,295 and counting, while Dream Big! surpassed its $80,000 goal Monday and Tenacity netted more than $100,000. The Special Olympics has raised $31,658 and Healthworks raised $40,000. MetroLacrosse has raised $19,298, with more to come, America SCORES Boston logged $26,248 and counting, while Playworks has raised $80,000.

“It's a hard day for everyone," said Playworks executive director Max Fripp via email,
"but at the core, I wonder if the values we teach 15,000 Boston elementary school students through daily recess and play might lead to shifts in how people feel about themselves and the communities where we live and work.”

Fripp noted that his organization recently completed a two-year random control trial with Mathematica with two important findings: 1. Playworks schools have less bullying and aggressive behavior; 2. Their students feel more safe and connected.

Other local nonprofits that benefit some BPS students such as AccessSports America canceled events scheduled for Tuesday evening because of the bombing.

Both BSA and the Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester were prepared to help students at their Spring Break camps process the traumatic situation.

“In general, I am asking staff to avoid having conversations in front of the children about the events that unfolded yesterday and not to have the lobby television on news stations that will constantly loop the footage,” said Sportsmen’s executive director Toni Wiley in an email to members. “However, children are likely to bring this up in conversation, so we should be as prepared as possible to handle it."

Kadade wasn’t so sure about sliver linings as she prepared to return to New York Tuesday.

“I'm not sure there is a silver lining except that my family is safe,” she said via email. “But there are many families that are not, and that are in hospitals. I keep thinking about my race and where I slowed down. If I was two minutes faster, my story could have been different.

“Running for charity and hearing, ‘Dream big, Angeli,’ throughout the race is why charity runners run. The medal is mine and I didn't get that yesterday but yes, I'm still helping hundreds of girls in the Boston area. And nobody can take that away.”

Collins was back at her desk at Suffolk Construction’s Roxbury headquarters Tuesday morning.

“I just couldn’t watch the TV any longer,” she said in a telephone interview. “I needed to be around people. I’m still a little sore but a little better than last year, which is good.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.