hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


April 18, 2013

City man witnessed horror of Boston Marathon bombings

Feared for members of his volunteer group at event

The 100th Boston Marathon in 1996 was the most memorable for Dave LaBrode.

It was the centennial occasion for the world’s oldest and most famous marathon, and, as he did for many previous Boston Marthons, LaBrode volunteered to help at the event.

LaBrode, a Haverhill resident, is a longtime competitive distance runner who also helps organize running events in Haverhill.

Monday’s 117th running of the marathon was an opportunity for LaBrode to shine at the event again.

But when the race ended abruptly, he was left to wonder if the team of volunteers he was directing at the event was safe.

LaBrode, captain of a 43-member team responsible for protecting posted mile and kilometer banners along half of the 26-mile route, never got to finish the job others were counting on him to do. There were no post-race celebrations, only fears about the volunteers he had organized and was not able to reach after the race was stopped due to the bombings that killed three people and injured dozens of others.

”What we do is fairly simple and it is to make sure the banners don’t fall down, get damaged or stolen,” LaBrode said of his group’s responsibility at the marathon.

Two volunteers from his group were posted at most banner locations. Their other duties included directing runners to aid stations and water stations.

The Greater Framingham Track Club managed the mile markers for the first half of the marathon, while LaBrode’s team was responsible for 20 markers between the 13-mile mark and the 1-mile-to-go mark. The Boston Athletic Association marks locations along the course so runners know where they are, LaBrode said.

Specially-made banners were set up at every mile mark along the right side of the road and at every five-kilometer mark.

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