BOMBS HAD JUST exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The large flat-screen TV on the conference room wall at 6ABC showed images of chaos, bloodshed and strangers helping strangers.
Cecily Tynan, Action News' weeknight meteorologist, walked in. She looked at the screen and was visibly moved. "Who would do this?" she asked. "It's just terrible."
Tynan, 44, a married mother of a 7-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, is a serious runner. She's a four-time sub-3-hour marathoner and top 10 age group finisher at the 2003 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She tried to qualify for the marathon in the Olympic trials, but missed by just a few minutes.
Tynan will race in the Broad Street Run tomorrow. When news first broke about the bombings in Boston, Daily News reporter Barbara Laker happened to be in the studio to interview her about why she runs and how she trains. Laker checked back with Tynan this week to see if the attack affected how she feels about the Philly race.
Q How has the Boston Marathon terror attack changed your view of running this Sunday?
I think the Boston Marathon attack put a lot of things into perspective. When you train for months for a race like Broad Street, you can get a bit self-absorbed worrying about pace, time, fitness, etc. But, when something like the Boston Marathon bombing happens, you realize just how insignificant all those things are. . . . Just how fast (or slow) you run a race really just isn't that important.
The day after the bombing, I did send an email to the Blue Cross Broad Street Run race director, Jim Marino, thanking him for all his hard work organizing the race and working to keep all 40,000 runners and all the spectactors safe. He's got a very tough job this year. A lot of people work very hard behind the scenes putting on a major running event. I try my best to thank organizers, volunteers and police officers at races.
Q When did you start running?
I started running in high school when I was a ballet dancer. And my ballet company went to Russia for two weeks and my parents wouldn't let me go because they didn't want to take me out of school. Up until then I thought I wanted to become a professional ballet dancer.
So for two weeks I didn't have anything to do so I went out for the track team. . . . A few months later I quit ballet and just started running. I ran cross-country in college and started road racing more after that.
Q What is your best Broad Street time?
Last year I ran a 1:02:12. . . . I'm hoping to beat that.
Q Explain your training and do you run with anyone?
I train usually in the morning after my kids go to school and before I go to work. . . . Sometimes I run with my husband [Greg Watson]. We have three dogs. So we take them trail running. Those are our easy days. One of our dogs has to walk a little bit so we have to stop and walk with her.
Weekends it depends. During ski season, we pretty much are in the Poconos on weekends. I said to my husband one day on the lift, skiing is probably good for running. And he said, "Oh yeah? Look how many Kenyans are out here skiing."
It probably would be better if we went on long runs on weekends. But running is a part of my life. It's not my life. And I want to enjoy my time with my children on weekends.
Q What do you like about running?
I like being outside. I don't run to music. I like hearing nature. I like running with my dogs. I like the fact that you don't need a lot of equipment. Basically you need some running clothes and a good pair of running shoes. That's it. And it's uncomplicated.
Q What do you like about the Broad Street Run?
One thing is it's so huge. You're running with 40,000 of your closest friends. I like that it's mainly downhill. It's a fast 10-miler.
Q Do you race alongside your husband?
No. He's very fast. We warm up together and I kiss him at the starting line and then he finds me at the end and we cool down together. He'll do Broad Street well under an hour. He's the 2004 duathlon world champion . . . Run, bike, run. . . . He's the best in the world at a sport that most people have never heard of.
Q Do people recognize you?
Yes, which is funny because I think if I have running sunglasses and no makeup on and my hair is in a ponytail, no one will recognize me. But yeah, pretty much all the time. They yell, "Go, Cecily."
Last year at Broad Street I remember so many people cheering for me. And I think afterward, someone who was running right ahead of me said he was so sick of hearing "Go Cecily" for 10 miles.
The best thing is when people come up to me and say I inspire them to exercise.