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A Bean Town run for Kayla

April 19, 2006 - Goodrich-The 110th Boston Marathon covers 26.2 mile from the New England village of Hopkinton, past Wellesley College onto Beacon Street and finishes near the John Hancock Tower and Copley Square.

Clad in neon green jerseys and scattered among the more than 22,000 runners in this years race were a contingent of local athletics running in memory of Kayla O'Mara, an All-State runner at Goodrich High school who was killed in a car accident on Jan. 24. The accident also injured Kayla's twin sister Kaitlin, 16, and friend Danielle Bila, 17.

In the months following the accident local runners and Goodrich residents Amy and Jim Aylmer decided to do something for the local girls. The Aylmer's are close friends of the Bila family, with Daniella often baby-sitting for the Aylmer children, Megan, 9, Caitlin, 8 and Ryan 6.

"We've seen people run for charity so we mailed about 35 letter to friends and relatives requesting donations for the Kalya O'Mara Scholarship fund at Goodrich High School," said Jim Aylmer, 40. "I would have been happy with $700 or $800 in donations, but we received $2,000. There's a lot of good people out there."

The green jerseys printed with the quote: 'In memory of Kayla O'Mara. Live to run, run to live,' are the product of Goodrich Track coach and Boston Marathon runner Terry Coaster. He had also coached O'Mara last season.

Both Amy and Jim have been running for about six years, participating in several races including the New York City Marathon, Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, the Chicago Marathon, and The Detroit Free Press Marathon.

A day after returning for the Boston Marathon, Amy Aylmer, 35, apparently still aching from the 26 mile trek summed up the experience.

"The pain I have following the race will be gone within a few days but the O'Mara and Bala's will have to live with the pain forever."

Donations can be made to the Kayla O'Mara Scholarship Fund at Goodrich High School, 8029 Gale Road, Goodrich Mich. 48438.

David Fleet is editor of The Citizen
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