News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 20, 2014

BOSTON MARATHON: Not intimidated

Blocks away from explosion in 2012, TH man returns for 3rd-straight year

TERRE HAUTE — One reason Mike Morris — and many runners can relate — has been a distance runner for 30 years is it’s restorative powers. Not to the body but to the mind.

“It probably helps my mental attitude more than anything. It just helps me keep humble and clears my mind,” Morris said the night before leaving for Boston, where he and his son, Mike Morris Jr., will run the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Morris Sr., a member of the Vigo County Council, will run in his third consecutive Boston Marathon. He was blocks away when the bombing occurred near the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Many have described returning to run the 26.2-mile race this year as a chance for a therapeutic experience.

For Morris, “it’s a determination thing to show the world you’re not going to be intimidated,” he said of the senseless violence that killed and permanently injured many people that day.

“Just seems like [the bomber] was out for a good time and ‘oh gosh, some people got hurt,’” Morris said. “I’m a guy that likes challenges and likes to fix things. And that’s just takes my wind away. You can’t give these people their legs back and there’s scars. You just can’t do it.”

Morris, 63, hadn’t thought about the bombing in quite some but a television news story came on early last week.

“I was in pretty good shape on the events up there and pretty excited about going. Then Monday, one of the news stations had a rewind on it,” Morris said. “It just hurts. I don’t know, all those feelings, of helplessness and what have you, it came back. I told my wife, I don’t care to watch this.”

With his son Mike Jr. looking or a big marathon personal best and wife Linda making the trip and running in Saturday’s 5-kilometer race, it’s sure to be a special weekend for the Morris family.

The Boston Marathon is a pilgrimage of sorts for runners.

Terre Haute’s Jeff Kackley took up running just four years ago.

“I was getting ready to turn 50, wanted to get in shape. Never been in bad shape but wanted to take care of myself,” Kackley said.

Thanks to making friends with Wabash Valley Roadrunners such as Chris Fitzgerald, Ben Chastain, Joel Baker and Barry Wickware — who is salso running the Boston Marathon today — Kackley elevated as a road and trail racer rather quickly.

“They were my buddies for running, they’re all younger than me but best friends with all of them,” said the 53-year-old Kackley.

Despite the rough winter, Kackley has racked up 700 miles since Jan. 1 preparing for his eighth marathon.

“When I started [running], I didn’t think I’d ever think about going to Boston. It’s going to be great. It will be the best one ever as far as what I like. I’m more excited about this one.”

Kackley, who has run a best time of two hours, 50 minutes, has improved in each of his previous marathons so his goal is to do the same today. The Boston course is known to be formidable due to the rolling hills from Hokinton, Mass., to Copley Square in the middle of Boston.

Toni Bohannon, a special education teacher at Central Elementary in Clinton, will also be running the Boston Marathon for the first time.

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