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Maryland Priest Among Boston Marathon Runners

PHOTO: Mother Meredith Olsen, an Episcopal Priest from Baltimore, shows the medal she received from running in the Boston Marathon. She is pictured with her niece. Courtesy of Olsen.
PHOTO: Mother Meredith Olsen, an Episcopal Priest from Baltimore, shows the medal she received from running in the Boston Marathon. She is pictured with her niece. Courtesy of Olsen.
April 22, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - When Mother Meredith Olsen, an Episcopal priest from Baltimore, heard explosions shortly after she crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon, she thought it was cannon fire like she occasionally hears from Fort McHenry. She quickly realized, however, that it was no patriotic demonstration.

"When I started to feel a little bit panicked and terrified was not so much after those two sounds, but when we heard the rush of ambulances and firefighters, and just all of the police," she recalled.

Olsen was able to find her family members in the chaos, and none of them were hurt.

She had recently suffered a stress fracture, and wonders what would have happened if she had slowed down in the race, and crossed the finish line just 20 minutes later.

"I'm still here: there must be something that God has for me to do. So, it's just it's sort of like an overwhelming, overwhelming sense," she said.

Olsen said she will continue to participate in running races, and plans to compete in the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

She believes those who carried out the bombings wanted people to be afraid.

"If I were to not run, and not do these races, I think in some sense they would be winning," as she put it. "And I don't want to let that happen."

Olsen is an associate pastor at All Hallows Episcopal church in Davidsonville.

Alison Burns/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MD