Emotional day for local runners

A sea of runners waits to start the Boston Marathon on Monday morning. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

A sea of runners waits to start the Boston Marathon on Monday morning. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By John L. Pitts

Daily Journal

The Northeast Mississippi runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon felt a spectrum of emotions during the 26.2-mile race.

But more than anything, they were moved by the outpouring of support from the public that lined the race route.

“The crowd was amazing – people were everywhere,” said Jane Shettles, 41, from Belden. She was the top female finisher from the state, 4,661st overall in 3:12:26.

“It was a very emotional day for me but very fun,” Shettles said. “When I crossed the finish line it really hit me. An amazing feeling.”

New Albany’s Heather Duley met a flight attendant in her hotel who had rescheduled her trip just to be in town to see the race. “She didn’t know any runners, she just wanted to cheer for all of them,” Duley said. “She just wanted to be a part of it.”

‘Amazing’ support

Duley, 37, finished in 3:35:43. “It was a hot, hot, brutal day, but I survived,” she said. “The crowd support was amazing.”

The top men’s finisher from the Journal area, as he was last year, was Bret Beauchamp, 39, from Oxford. He was 4,404th overall in 3:11.20.

The top finisher from the state was Florence’s Martin Miles Jr., 35, 1,397th overall in 2:54:20.

New Albany’s Roger McMillin, 68, who was near the finish line when the bombs went off last year, finished Monday in 4:28:55.

“The scene along the course was phenomenal,” he said. “I heard there were maybe a million people out there, the course was just lined with folks cheering and making you feel really good.”

Veteran Corinth runner Kenneth Williams, 72, competing in his “lucky 13th” Boston race, finished in 4:44:22. He was still on the course when the bombs went off last year.

Cancer survivor Reed Nunnelee, 29, of Brandon – son of U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee and a former Tupelo resident – finished 6,440th overall in 3:19:51.

john.pitts@journalinc.com

–––––

AREA RUNNERS

Men

(With overall finish)

4,404, Bret Beauchamp, 39, Oxford, 3:11:20

21,687, Roger McMillin, 68, New Albany, 4:28:55.

27,760, Haywood Harrell, 66, Corinth, 5:06:45

25,374, Kenneth Williams, 72, Corinth, 4:44:22

Women

(With overall and gender finish)

13,757 (4,433), Amy Ballard, 37, Saltillo, 3:44:33

11,031 (2,941), Heather Duley, 37, New Albany, 3:35:43.

12,067 (3,492), Bridgett Jolly, 39, Tupelo, 3:38:54

15,342 (5,353), Lynn O’Neal, 50, Fulton, 3:50:11

14,125 (4.648), Esther Sanders, 44, Belden, 3:45:46

4,661 (455), Jane Shettles, 41, Belden, 3:12:26

23,989 (10,184), Charity Gordon, 42, Amory, 4:33:48