Boston Marathon Bombing: Amputee brothers traveling marathon route as fundraiser


FILE: Boston Marathon bombing victim Paul Norden wipes his brow during a break from physical therapy exercises at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, MA on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Norden and his brother J.P. each lost a leg in the bombing. (Matthew Cavanaugh for The Washington Post)

Brothers Paul and J.P. Norden, each of whom lost his right leg in the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago, set out to travel the 26.2 miles of the footrace's route Tuesday with a group of about 15 to 20 family and friends. The event is a fundraiser for the brothers, who face a lifetime of expenses for the prostheses that have replaced their legs.

The men's mother, Liz Norden, said Monday that they hoped to walk perhaps eight miles each, but under a gray and drizzly sky over the first two miles, they were on and off a bus to greet well-wishers along the route. The trip took on the air of a publicity tour for a new book written about the brothers.

A flag at half-mast and a sign reading "Welcome to Hopkinton, It all starts here" greeted the brothers as they walked to the marathon starting line. There was a moment of silence and the family started walking in heavy rain that eventually gave way to drizzle.

Less than two miles in, Paul took a break and then JP did the same soon after. They rode to the Tasty Treat in Ashland where they got out to take photos with police and shake hands with local residents.

""We've been super close,  but it helps that we're super competitive," Paul Norden said of the brothers' attempt to walk part of the route. He said the support "makes you proud to be from Boston."

The brothers were part of a group of friends from Stoneham, Mass. who were injured by the second of the two blasts, outside Forum restaurant.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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Lenny Bernstein | April 15