Saturday 1 October 2016

Dancer who lost leg in Boston bombs 'filled to brim with joy' after marathon run

Published 19/04/2016 | 16:36

Bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet starts the 120th Boston Marathon (AP)
Bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet starts the 120th Boston Marathon (AP)

A professional ballroom dancer who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings has said conquering the course on a carbon-fibre blade was a giant leap forward towards reclaiming her life.

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Amputee Adrianne Haslet laughed, wept, walked and ran during the gruelling 10-and-a-half hour odyssey - and finished.

"It's really emotional because I think of all the definitions that this finish line has held," she told reporters after limping across the line on Monday night.

It was 26.2 miles of agonising ecstasy for Ms Haslet, 35, of Boston, whose prosthesis dug painfully into her stump.

Her leg began swelling at around mile seven and by mile 14 she had to spend an hour in a medical tent, and wondered how she would manage to reach Boylston Street.

Anguished supporters who tracked Ms Haslet's slow progress on the Boston Athletic Association's website thought the same.

In the end, her own steely determination - and the cheers, real and virtual, of people who lined the route and took to social media - powered her to the same finish line where a bomb had left her shredded and bleeding three years earlier.

Among those cheering her on was New England Patriots American football quarterback Tom Brady, who posted on Facebook: "Two years ago I was lucky enough to meet Adrianne Haslet, a survivor of the 2013 Marathon bombings. She's on the course now, running the race for the first time - with a prosthetic leg. Adrianne thank you for being my inspiration!!"

From US president Barack Obama's official account came this tweet at mid-race: "Thank you, Adrianne, for being Boston Strong. Terror and bombs can't beat us. We carry on. We finish the race!"

Ms Haslet dedicated her run to Limbs for Life, an Oklahoma City-based organisation that provides prostheses for amputees who cannot afford them.

In 2013, Ms Haslet was standing near the finish line cheering for the runners when she was injured by the second of two bombs planted among the crowds. Three people were killed and more than 260 others wounded in the attacks.

She vowed two things after the attacks: to dance again and to run the marathon.

Her medal hanging around her neck, Ms Haslet posted a photo of herself opening a bottle of champagne.

"I have no words," she wrote. "Filled to the brim with the utter definition of joy."

Press Association

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