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Sherwood woman was six miles from finish line when explosion occurred

A Sherwood woman competing in the Boston Marathon was less than six miles from the finish line when the first explosion went off Monday, killing three and injuring almost 150 people.

“They pulled me off the course at (mile) 20.5,” Michelle LaVine said Monday evening from a friend’s home, located 30 minutes from the end of the race finish line.

She said the reason the runners were initially given was vague but everyone moved off the course, learning moments later about the terrifying incident she called “tragic beyond words.”

“It’s very sad,” said LaVine, 46.by: COURTESY OF MICHELLE LAVINE - Michelle LaVine

The severity of the explosions soon became apparent to her after she began receiving a steady barrage of text messages and emails from friends and family.

Because she was fighting a previous injury, LaVine estimated she was probably still an hour from finishing and didn’t hear the explosion.

Contacted by the Sherwood Gazette 11/2 hours after the explosions, LaVine texted back a short message, “Im safe.”

A Sherwood resident since 1998, LaVine entered the prestigious race after fund-raising thousands of dollars as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team. The Boston Marathon allows runners to enter through several methods including fund-raising for charity or by qualifying through their times at sanctioned marathons. LaVine chose the former.

“There are more than 500 runners on the team and I am very excited to be part of this cause and this event,” LaVine wrote in an email a little more than a week before the race. Her plans then were to raise $5,250, an amount she has since exceeded, and is still accepting donations until May 15, visit http://www.runDFMC.org/2013/michellel.

“I am running in memory of a dear friend and colleague of mine, David Pickens, who passed on June 7, 2012, from Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (Stage IV Kidney Cancer),” LaVine wrote before running the race.  “His widow and daughter are huge supporters of my run and kicked off my fundraising with a $500 donation.”

An administrative assistant at Capital One Financial in Tigard, LaVine had actively trained for the race since early December, having more than 18 weeks and 300 miles under her belt on race day. She said she split her training with outdoor runs along with some long treadmill runs at the Sherwood Family YMCA, 18 miles being the longest.

Still, LaVine said she has the satisfaction of knowing she finished the race two years ago with a time of 5 hours, 26 minutes.

Her plans Monday night included getting on a plane headed back to Portland on Tuesday.

“I’m exhausted physically and mentally,” she said.




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