Local runners are Boston bound

Team Eastern to race on Patriots Day


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  • Photo by Amy Cilli Team Eastern runner: Lauren Huffman of Branchville, Laura DeLea of Sparta, Jeremy Scheid of Sparta, Justin Schiedof Sparta, Brendan McDonough of Sparta, Billy Washerof Ogdensburg, Bill Bosmann of Sparta, George McDonough of Sparta and Paul Meyer.



With each step, Karl Fenske and his girlfriend Julia Scales raced past hundreds of cheering fans and inched closer to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They were 25 yards away from completing the 26.2 mile race when the first of two pressure cooker bombs explode on Boylston Street on April 15, 2013.

Team Eastern heading to Boston

Lauren Huffman, 39, Branchville N.J. — BQ: Lehigh Valley Marathon, Pa., 3:28.
Karl Fenske, 63, of Morristown, N.J. — BQ: Berlin Germany Marathon, 3:50.
Laura DeLea, 48, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Philadelphia Marathon, Pa., 3:43.
Jeremy Scheid, 25, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Grandma's Marathon, Minn., 2:48.
Justin Schied, 28, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Grandma's Marathon, Minn., 2:27.
Brendan McDonough, 24, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Lehigh Valley Marathon, Pa., 3:02.
Mike Dalton, 27, of Jefferson, N.J. — BQ: Pittsburgh Marathon Pa., 2:48.
Billy Washer, 27, of Ogdensburg, N.J. — BQ: Austin Marathon, Tex., 2:38.
Bill Bosmann, 63, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Philadelphia Marathon Pa., 3:25 (19th Boston Marathon)
George McDonough, 55, of Sparta, N.J. — BQ: Grandma's Marathon, Minn., 3:33.
Paul Meyer, 46, Hackettstown, N.J. — BQ: New York City Marathon, N.Y., 3:19.
— BQ = Boston Qualifier time

When the explosion occured Fenske and Scales were running on the other side of the street.

Fenske knew what it was right away.

"I knew it was a bomb, I knew the thing went off and then I saw body parts and people screaming and smelled the cordit," Fenske said. "So I knew it was not part of the celebration. I spun (Scales) around so she wouldn’t see the stuff I was seeing. There was a metal barricade to our right and jumped over that and ran into an alcove, a building hallway and huddled with another runner."

Getting back to their car and escaping the scene was an ordeal.

"It was just the law of the jungle," Fenske recalled. "There were good parts and bad parts. Terror and irrational behavior and incredible acts of benevolence."

When they stopped in a hotel someone bought them a meal, another person gave Fenske a shirt and Scales a blanket to wear.

There was also a runner asking how he was going to get his finisher's medal.

"This is World War 3," Fenske said. "This is like Armageddon is happening and you are wondering about a finisher's medal?"

They made it home and survived.

When it was over, three spectators were killed and 264 injured — at least 14 people required amputations.

'Running on Propane'

Fenske will lace up his shoes once more to finish what he started last year — this time with a few of his comrades.

Fenske of Morristown and Scales of Sparta are members of Team Eastern — a Sparta-based running club sponsored by Eastern Propane with a motto "Running on Propane."

A total of 11 team members from Sparta and surrounding areas, including Ogdensburg and Franklin, qualified and will be racing in 118th Boston Marathon in Boston, Mass.

On Monday, (April 21, Patriot's Day), the team will be sporting yellow singlets branded with Team Eastern and "Running Strong for Boston.”

Laura Delea

Team Eastern's Laura Delea, 48, of Sparta will also be running Boston for her first time.

"I think it will be an amazing and emotional experience," Delea said. "We are out there for the people who got hurt last year. “There is a part of the runner in me out there for them and the other part for me.”

Qualifying is no easy feat and Delea not only accomplished that but she did it while running on a fractured foot.

"It was a minor stress fracture," Delea said. "When I ran the New York City Marathon the year before I had three stress fractures."

Despite her doctor's advice not to run, Delea said she "felt the need."

She originally planned on only running the half marathon in Philly, but she was feeling so good she just kept running the full marathon and ended up qualifying.

"For me I am so excited and surprised I qualified for Boston and got in," Delea said. "I never really thought about it or thought it was possible. It's just an exciting experience."

Karl Fenske

Fenske, 63, a bare foot runner, began running in 1994 when he weighed 300 pounds.

"I was not leading a particularly healthy lifestyle," Fenske said. "I went into alcohol rehab and running was part of my therapy."

Through running, Fenske lost 100 pounds and has not turned back.

He has since completed numerous marathons including Boston three times, three Ultra Marathons (a distance of 50K or 31 miles) and six Ironman Triathlons — which consist of completing 112 miles of bike riding, 2.4 miles of swimming and running a marathon (26.2 miles).

"I am not a spring chicken," Fenske said. "I've been around a long time, been through a lot in my life. I haven’t lived a sheltered life. I really do feel emotionally wrought when I hear loud noises and jumpy. I am a little apprehensive about returning."

Still Fenske is determined to finish.

"Also I know the running community is really pumped up for this race," Fenske said. "There will be a lot of celebration and good vibes and good hopes. I think it will be memorable experience. Not everyone gets to do Boston. It's going to be one for the memory books."

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