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Boston Marathon victim starts race in Baltimore

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Boston Marathon victim starts race in Baltimore

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BALTIMORE (AP) – Erika Brannock was back at a marathon today, smiling as she held up the tape for the winners.
The 29-year-old preschool teacher lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings in April. Six months later, she returned to a race course to serve as the honorary starter for the Baltimore Marathon.
“You can do this, and you will do this,” Brannock told the thousands of runners gathered for the start.
Brannock was waiting near the finish line in Boston for her mother to complete the race. Doctors amputated her left leg above the knee.
She spent 50 days in a Boston hospital. Last week, Brannock used a prosthesis for the first time, and she has returned to work part-time.
Her mother, Carol Downing, stayed close as Brannock encouraged the runners from a wheelchair. She joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on a platform.
“I got emotional even before I got up there,” Brannock said. “I was choking on my words. It came from my heart.”
Six months from now, Brannock is planning on returning to Boston for the 2014 marathon.