A local Delta Air Lines pilot is packing up to run in his third Boston marathon.
With 17 marathons under his belt, Alan Hicks of Florence is tackling Boston for the last time as a show of patriotism and as a fundraiser.
Hicks has been running for some 33 years and he's found that a foot path in Florence is the perfect training ground for his third Boston marathon. His training includes running about 70 miles per week.
Hicks crossed the finish line in Boston last year about an hour before the bombs went off. Twenty-six years ago, Hicks immigrated to the United States from Ireland so he says he took the bombings personally.
"When the bombing happened, it was devastating. Of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to the survivors and first responders but you know we got thinking 'this is America.' I came here by choice. I'm a citizen by choice," he said.
"If anybody wants to come to this country and start taking advantage of what we have to offer and slap us in the face, I'm going to stand up to them and I'm going to (the marathon) one more time for the victims and for the first responders and just to show that this is America. We're brave. You won't stop us at all."
Hicks, 52, says he's also going to Boston to raise money for his son's robotics team at St. Henry District High School.
"They unexpectedly made it to the world championship which is coming up here actually next week and with those unexpected successes comes unexpected expense," he said.
Andrew Hicks, also a long distance runner, says he appreciates his father's efforts.
"He's now helping us run and raise money for us because we need money," Andrew Hicks said. "Knowing, he's run a lot I know he's trained for this a lot but it's really a sacrifice he's making for us. I love it."
Alan Hicks is going to be competing in a crowded field. Some 37,000 of the world's best runners are expected to participate but Alan Hicks considers it an honor and hopes to turn in a respectable time of about three hours.
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