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Blake Foster runs in the Memorial Marathon to honor aunt, father

Blake Foster of Moore will be running the 5K in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Blake Foster of Moore will be running the 5K in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

For Blake Foster of Moore, this Sunday's Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon will be day of celebration and thankfulness.

He will celebrate the lives of two people who are his inspirations and be thankful that one of them, an aunt who survived the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, has been able to be part of his life for the past 24 years.

Sonja Key worked on the eighth floor of the Murrah Building, where 168 people were killed in a bomb blast on April 19, 1995.

But on that day, Key was in a computer training class one floor above. Had she been sitting at her desk on the eighth floor, “she would not be with us today,” Foster said.

“She has provided an immeasurable amount of love and support to our entire family and I cannot imagine growing up without her being involved in our lives.”

Key was blown away from the blast and helped search for victims in the aftermath, Foster said. His father, Mike Foster, is now a retired fireman but on April 19, 1995, he was racing to the scene with other firefighters to help.

“He relentlessly remained on the scene for days on end, and his dedication inspired me to pursue my career in emergency services and safety,” Blake Foster said.

Foster, who still has an EMT license but now works for Amazon in Oklahoma City, will participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for the first time on Sunday. He will be running the 5K.

Neither Foster’s father or his aunt spoke much over the years about the bombing and he didn’t ask, not wanting to open old wounds. Foster said his dad didn’t share many details with him until he chose to become an EMT years later.

Foster was only 3 years old at the time of the bombing, but over the years, he has felt a deeper personal connection to it because of his aunt and his father's involvement. He is choosing to participate in this year’s Memorial Marathon in their honor.

He feels grateful that his aunt is a survivor and his father was one of the first responders. He feels blessed both are in his life.

And he has come to appreciate Oklahoma City’s response since the deadly attack.

Participating in the Memorial Marathon, “I think is a great way to celebrate the strength and courage that everybody had shown on that day,” Foster said.

“It is going to be for me, more of a celebration, if you will, of the characteristics shown by everybody there that day and the ability to move forward, no matter what it takes.”

OKLAHOMA CITY MEMORIAL MARATHON

When: 6:30 a.m. Sunday

Where: Downtown Oklahoma City

Weather: Mostly sunny, high of 76

To register: OKCMarathon.com

To volunteer: OKCMarathon.com/volunteer

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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