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King Pine race brings community together to support Boston Marathon victims

Special to the Union Leader

April 28. 2013 8:41PM
Six-year-old Colin Hudson-Swogger of North Conway stands at attention as he listens to Amazing Grace, played by bagpiper Pat Boyle of Farmington. Colin and his dad, Nick, and sister, Maddie, were at the White Mountain Milers' Boston Memorial Run/Walk on Saturday, while Colin and Maddie's mom, Emmy, ran in the event. (SARA YOUNG-KNOX PHOTO)

EAST MADISON - The Mount Washington Valley community came together Saturday to show its support for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings, raising over $6,000 for The One Fund Boston at the White Mountain Milers' Boston Memorial Run/Walk at King Pine Ski Area/Purity Springs Resort.

Paul Kirsch, president of the White Mountain Milers, said the outpouring of support for the event, which brought out folks of all ages and abilities, was amazing. Registration was free, with donations welcome.

Everything, from the use of the King Pine facilities, to the food, beverages, raffle prizes, and music was donated, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the day are going to The One Fund Boston. The fund, the formation of which was recently announced by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Boston Mayor Tom Menino, is being organized by Boston law firm Goodwin Procter.

"We're just so excited to do this," Kirsch said as he waited for the participants to loop back to Milt's Place at the ski area after running and walking on 2.6K of the Nordic trail across the road. He said he's never put together an event in such a short time.

"It seemed like we should do something up here, he said." "King Pine/Purity Springs has been wonderful."

He said he approached the Hoyt family - owners and operators of King Pine Ski Area - about holding the event, and within an hour they said yes. The Milers found others just as generous, and, through social media, others who wanted to give found them.

"Tell me where I need to be, I'll be there," Kirsch said was the common response, coupled with, "How much do you want me to bring?" More than 30 businesses donated goods and services.

Participants were kept off the road because there wasn't time to get the necessary permits, and parking overflowed to the area's main lodge, but there were plenty of volunteers - 30 in all - to guide, feed, and entertain the crowd. Kirsch said they had so many people who wanted to help, they had to turn away volunteers.

Besides promoting running and walking events, the nonprofit club is involved in community service activities. Kirsch said about 125 families are members, and that five or six of those members ran in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

One of those marathoners was Linda Parish of Albany, who reflected on the bombings and how close her family was to the second explosion just 45 minutes before the blast. Her husband, adult children and six-month-old grandson had been a couple of blocks from the finish line, waiting for her to come in, an hour before the bombings.

She said she will be going back next year - it will be her 25th consecutive Boston Marathon - but she's not so sure she wants her family there.

"It's one thing to risk yourself," she said, "it's another thing to risk your family. That's what I really thought of all week."

"It's just wonderful to see all the people, it shows how much people really wanted to do something for the cause," Parish said.

Cheryl Wilson of Ossipee agreed with that sentiment. Wilson, who works at the resort, brought family and friends with her.

"It's a great cause and shows we're all united," she said.

Eight-year-old Dylan Spur of Alton said he felt good about coming to the event.

"People want to make a difference," Kirsch said, saying the event allowed people to come together for a "little bit of grieving, a little bit of support."

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