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Thursday May 28th, 2015 4:13AM

Gainesville couple plans to return to Boston for this year's marathon

By Ken Stanford Reporter
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GAINESVILLE - A Gainesville couple, thrust into the national spotlight following the Boston Marathon bombings last year, will be returning to Boston for this year's event.

Dr. Allan Panter, an emergency room physician, went to Boston last year to watch his wife Theresa run the race. He ended up as a first responder when two bombs exploded near him at the finish line.

The Panters were immediately in demand from national media outlets, wanting to hear their stories.

A year later, Dr. Panter was asked recently if he still thinks about what happened.

"I think about it on a regular basis but I mostly think we just try to move on," he said on WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap.

He noted that one of the people he assisted after the bombings died. "She passed away there." But, he says "there was a...gentleman...and...we've kind of communicated back and forth" over the past twelve months.

Theresa Panter told AccessNorthGa.com the morning after the incident she was initially confused when she heard an explosion as she neared the end of the race. Then, when a city of Boston official approached her and other runners and pushed them back on the race course, she said she became frightened.

"Knowing my husband was at the finish line...he was either hurt or helping," she said. "I'm thankful to God that he was helping."

Panter said in that interview a year ago that when she caught up with her husband about an hour and a half after the explosions, she found him covered in blood. She said he was doing exactly what she knew he would in such an emergency.

But she is ready to go back this year, according to Dr. Panter.

"I'm proud of her. She wants to go back and so we are going back this year. She doesn't want to have her Boston Marathon career to end on a sour note."

He said the couple has no plans to change their pre-race or race routine because of what happened last year.

Increased security is planned for this year's race on April 21.

Asked if that will be a comfort to him, he said "It is, in a way, (but) if we overreact, then the people who perpetrated this have won. There has to be a happy median for security. I just hope we don't overreact."

What has been his biggest "take away" from the events of a year ago?

"You really do think about your family and your life. It's only natural. And, (you think about) how lucky and fortunate you are."

(AccessNorthGa.com's B.J. Williams and Derreck Booth contributed to this story.)
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