The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 16, 2013

Local runner in Boston Marathon safe


TARBORO — The triumph of runners finishing one of the most prestigious races in the nation, the Boston Marathon, was jolted by a tragedy Monday afternoon, as two bombs went off near the finish line. A local runner, Dr. Brian Lankford of Eye Care Center in Tarboro, had already crossed the finish line and he and his wife Sandy had headed back to their hotel -- the Westin Copley Place -- when the bombs exploded, said Lankford's stepdaughter, Jennifer Strickland.

"Their hotel is 50 feet from the medical tent where people are being taken to. They're right there in the middle of it," said Strickland. She said some of the phone lines are down and cell phone reception is spotty but she was able to talk with Lankford and Sandy briefly this morning and she's just glad they're safe.

While Strickland is proud of Lankford for finishing the race, the feeling is "bittersweet," as she thinks of all the other runners who trained and weren't able to finish the race, and those who were injured.

"It's overshadowed by tragedy," she said.

More details will be printed in the Wednesday edition of The Daily Southerner.