The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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October 29, 2012

Pittsburg woman glad injury derailed trip to East Coast

It was a good thing that plans by Kimberly Harries, a Pittsburg resident, to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Va., Sunday were derailed by an ankle injury this fall.

“If I would have run it, I would be there right now, and most likely would be stuck,” she said Monday from her office at Pittsburg State University.

 “I’m glad I’m safe.”

Nearly 30,000 runners braved a cold front to run the 37th annual race, as temperatures plummeted in advance of Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught.

The final 10 miles were accompanied by steady gusts of wind, according to a report by The Washington Post.

But on Monday, many runners — who represented 50 states and 50 countries — were stranded when airlines ceased flights because of the impending storm.

While Harries was glad she wasn’t among them, she was worried Monday about the safety of her father and the family’s longtime home on the banks of the Potomac River in Valley Lee, Md.

It was built in the 1930s as a vacation home, used as an officers barracks during World War II, and purchased by her grandparents when her father was young. Her father, Ben Bolinger, now 72, lives there alone and most likely won’t be able to leave during the storm.

“He’s seeing major water, big waves, and there is a pond that overflows and traps them,” Harries said.

 His father isn’t worried as much for his own safety as he is the house: He just finished renovating it, including new windows and paint.

“It survived Hurricane Hazel from the 1950s, and that changed the direction of the river and we lost much of the beach,” Harries said.

“I’m more worried about him being there alone.”

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