I am angry; really, really angry. I am sad, very sad. I am talking about the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday and it bothers me deeply. These bombings affected pretty much everyone. It affected every runner out there. It affected every Bostonian.And I happen to be both, so I am doubly hurt. Yes, this hurts twice as bad and I am taking it personally. Boston is my hometown, and running is what I do. How could this happen at “THE” Boston Marathon??
As a child, “Patriots Day” in Massachusetts is a state holiday and one of my favorite childhood memories. It was our tradition to go to the Red Sox game early in the day, and by the time the game was over, we’d walk out of the park and across a parking lot to mile 25 of the marathon. We really never had to wait more than 15-30 minutes and then the first runners would come by (yes this is back when baseball games were 2½ hours long and the marathon started at noon). We’d hang out and watch the runners go by, year after year. I saw Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Joan Benoit, and even Rosie Ruiz. It was a fun day.
When I went to college, the tradition turned to hanging out at Heartbreak Hill & partying with my friends at Boston College. It was at that point one year as I was looking at all the runners going by, and I said to myself “If they can do this, I can do this” and soon after, my long distance running began. I soon fell in love with half marathons and marathons, running my first marathon in 1992. Since then, I have qualified for the Boston Marathon five times and have run it three times, most recently in 2011.
By my estimates of the events on Monday, if I had been running the race this year, I would have been near that finish line at the time of the bombings. Most likely I would have just finished the race or at least would have been in that immediate area. And chances are, my family could have been in the finish line area too. And that really scares me. That is really hard to think about.
This bombing hit just too close to home and it’s keeping me awake at night. Too many people I know were either running the race or live up there and were spectators.
- I had two friends who had already finished the race and were back in their hotel rooms.
- Another friend had finished about 30 minutes prior and was at the finish area, had collected her running bag and was around the corner from the explosion.
- Two other friends were still in the finishers chute, finishing just minutes before the bombs when off.
- Another runner I know was ½ mile from the finish line, saw the explosion and was stopped, never crossing the finish line and never getting his finishers medal. It was his first Boston marathon.
- Another runner I know was at mile 22 when it happened. He and all the other runners were put into a church to hang out, and then eventually bussed to the finish line.
- My niece was on her way to the finish line when it happened. Thank God she wasn’t actually there. She also works with a group of children at Children’s Hospital. One of the kids in her group was a classmate with the 8-year old boy who died.
- Another friend was standing in the exact spot of the first bombing, took some photos, and walked away just 15 minutes before the bomb went off. She was within minutes of possibly being seriously injured or killed.
I received dozens of phone calls, emails & text messages on Monday wanting to know if I was running in the race, if I was okay and if my family was okay. No, I wasn’t up there running & my family is safe. I do have a marathon in a little more than two weeks, and I imagine I’ll have a little more emotional push in that race. Yes I will finish and I will finish strong for the people of Boston.
They say time heals all wounds and this will heal too. Just like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Olympic bombing, Columbine shootings and Sept. 11th: all these tragedies hurt, some more than others, and people heal & move on. There is good in this world, we see people come together after these events. It just takes a few crazy people to try and ruin it for us, but it won’t stop us.
Runners are tough; the people from Boston are tough. However that favorite childhood holiday of mine will be forever tainted by the events of 2013. Next year maybe I’ll go up there and relive that childhood tradition – go to a Red Sox game, watch the marathon from mile 25, and hang out with the Boston folks and help heal and move on. Until then, I look forward to the guys being caught, to the injured leaving the hospital, and the families healing. I look forward to my marathon on May 5th, where I will take out my anger during those 26.2 miles. I am from Boston and I am strong.
One Fund Boston – set up to support families most affected by this tragedy
National Anthem at Bruins game, 1st professional game in Boston after the race (this will give you shivers)
“Sweet Caroline” being sung at the Yankees game (in honor of the Red Sox)