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A Boston medal for an Atlanta friend | Community Spirit

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A Boston medal for an Atlanta friend
A Boston medal for an Atlanta friend

ATLANTA -- Atlanta has always had a very vibrant running community.

However, over the last 40 years one man has been the Pied Piper of his own local version of Hamelin.

In 1973, Jeff Galloway finished fifth in the Boston Marathon. And on Monday night, he gathered about 100 friends and customers from Phidippides Atlanta, his running store in Ansley Mall, to run for Boston.

It was a night of meaning for those who live for running and love the symbol of their sport -- the Boston Marathon.

"I'm changing when all of a sudden a huge explosion and it was like a war zone," Dennis Murray said.

The war zone for the Johns Creek resident was the finish line. He just cleared the area long enough to collect his seventh Boston Marathon medal

"Sirens came and everything else, and I tried to find my wife in 45 minutes and it was panic city," he said.

Mike Wien and his friend Bishop Leatherbury were there too. They traveled to run and they did.

"I expected Boston to be an incredible experience and it was," Leatherbury said.

But this experience was different for him. It was an event on his bucket list which, looking back, is scary. Fate for both Leatherbury and Wien had a different twist on Monday, April 15.

"People who run marathons are living with purpose ... they lead great lives," Wien said. He finished 10 minutes ahead of the explosion.

After the blast, Mr. Bishop was a quarter of a mile behind, but the explosion changed everything. He was done. He wasn't allowed to finish.

Now, he will finish that run on an Atlanta evening.

"When I passed the finish line -- I received a medal," Wien said. "But I'll tell you what -- there is someone out there who deserves this medal a lot more than me because he ran 26.2 miles. Would you welcome my friend, Bishop Leatherbury."