Group of runners helping keep Lingzi Lu's memory alive in Boston

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April 20, 2014, 11:13 pm
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(NECN) - When graduate student Lingzi Lu was killed in the marathon bombings last year, her parents told her school they decided to bury her in Boston instead of her home country of China because of the support they received from the city.

They want her memory to live on in Boston, and now a group of runners from Boston University is making that happen.

The school was rocked by news of her death. The twin blasts at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three and injured more than 260 others. Days later, an MIT officer was gunned down in his cruiser, allegedly by the marathon bombing suspects.

Now, the school is transforming despair into action. The Boston Athletic Association has given the Lu family 15 spots for runners in this year's Boston Marathon. The family chose to give seven of those to the Boston University community.

In February, a committee from the school and the Lu family reviewed about 200 applications from prospective runners, many submitted by video, before selecting a team that would represent her spirit on Marathon Monday.

Yujue Wang from China, a junior at the university, is one of the selected runners who caught the attention of the panel.

"There are hundreds and thousands of people like me who are determined to take home the endless promise and carry on the dream," said Wang.

Boston University graduate Ryan Shea is also a member of Team Lu.

Shea ran his first marathon on a treadmill the day after the bombings as a way to pay tribute to the victims. This year, he wants to take that passion to the finish line.

Dan Mercurio, a Boston University staffer who is on the team, completed the marathon just moments before the bombs went off.

Holding the team is Jennifer Carter-Battaglino, who teaches a marathon training class at the university. When Lu passed away, she volunteered to coach anyone running in her name.

"The whole thing was tragic. It didn't make any sense," said Carter-Battaglino. "That kind of evil never makes any sense."

She was, herself, later given a spot on the team.

"Everybody's at a different skill level, and also have different goals, but everybody just wants to cross the finish line for Lingzi, and I think we'll all do that successfully," she said.

Come Marathon Monday, Carter-Battaglino hopes the crowd will be on the lookout for a team wearing Lingzi t-shirts, and cheering them on until the very end.

"I think there will be a lot of tears, and a lot of celebration," said Carter-Battaglino.

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Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Boston University, Boston Marathon, Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Marathon bombing, Lingzi Lu, Boston Strong
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