Local runners headed to Boston determined to cross finish line

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. ( WCIV) -- It has been almost a year since the Boston Marathon bombing. Two local runners were there and never got to complete the race, so they are headed back this year to cross the finish line and find some closure.

Lisa Deaton and Gary Melville are running partners. They started running together three years ago. Their most recent race was the 2013 Boston Marathon.

"It was a perfect day until the bombs went off," said Gary Melville.

"We hit about mile 25 and all of the sudden I hear, 'Daddy! Daddy!' and I look to my left and it was Gary's daughter Jennifer, and she had her 6-month-old baby strapped to her and she was white as a ghost and she was trembling," said Lisa Deaton, Melville's running partner who was running the Boston marathon for the first time. "He said, 'Jennifer not now, we are getting ready to take the turn, we are getting ready to finish.' And she said, 'No, no there has been a bomb.'"

So with less than a mile to go, the pair had to stop the race. It was supposed to be the last 26.2 mile trek for Melville.

"I wanted Boston to be my last one, so it was going to be the last one. I had trained and my family was with me," said Melville. "I really didn't think a lot about how disappointed I was in not finishing because that would have seemed selfish given what the people there had experienced and it was going to be my last marathon because I'm getting too old to do these marathons."

But when he found out that he could run in 2014 without re-qualifying, he decided that he would run Boston Strong even after having knee surgery. His one requirement was having his running partner by his side.

"It will be better having you with me then having to do it by myself. I'm glad we are going to get to do it together again," said Melville.

But it wasn't easy for Deaton{}to even get to the starting line because of a bike accident.

"About five years ago, I hit a spot in the road and it catapulted me down an 8-foot rock ravine so I broke my back, nine ribs, so basically my body was broken in half except for connective soft tissue," said Deaton.

There were numerous injuries but she overcame them all and learned to not only walk again but run again.

"Boston was a big deal for me. It was a post-op dream," said Deaton. "It was a goal that I had, so it was very hard to give it up last year. I have worked really, really hard to overcome that, so it was a personal goal."

But the event really rattled her, and it wasn't until six months later that she committed to the 2014 race.

"I feel good. I'm ready to put it behind me -- I'm ready to finish," said Deaton. "I want to see the finish line. I don't want to give up on the people for Boston. They were good to us and I want to go back and show them that we support them."

Both are hoping this year's event will bring them closure.

"I'm hoping that we can put it behind us and move on to the next journey," said Deaton.

"I'm really, really looking forward to bringing closure to my marathoning career and going across the finish line in Boston. It's just going to be incredible," said Melville. "We are going to do it and bring closure, right partner?"

So this running duo is hoping to finish what they started a year and one week later.

The 118th Boston Marathon will be Monday, April 21.

If you want to help Deaton reach her goal of raising money for the New England Patriots charity, click here