July 28 2015
One runner shares what it is like to protect a friend through 26.2 miles.
The Boston Marathon tragedy on April 15, 2013 hit close to home. Really close to home.
Three of the Women’s Running team (Jessie Sebor, Kara Deschenes and Allison Pattillo), set out to run the historic course in hopes of creating memories – the kind legends are made of. Little did we know, that’s exactly what would happen – though they weren’t quite the sunny dreams we hoped for.
The explosions temporarily marred our experience, but we’re too fiesty a bunch to go out that way. So this weekend Jessie Sebor, Editor-in-Chief, and Kara Deschenes, Web Editor, ran on opposite coasts to reclaim Boston.
We ran to honor the victims.
We ran to celebrate the runners.
We ran to thank our cheerleaders.
We ran to inspire our readers.
We ran to show our gratitude to all of Boston for our safe return.
And most of all, we ran for the solidarity of the running community we love so much.
Last Monday, I crossed the finish line on Boylston, thrilled and exhausted by the race. My plan had been to wait at the finish to cheer for Kara and Allison who were still running, but my tired legs begged me to return to my hotel.
Sixty-eight minutes later, I was alone in my room when two booms erupted. Fireworks? I thought. Thunder? Later, I turned on the television to discover, along with the rest of the world, bombs had exploded, killing three and injuring nearly 200 innocent people.
My heart breaks for the sport I cherish, for the state I grew up in, for the spectators at the finish whose only goal was to support their friends and family. But if there’s something (anything) positive that can come out of this senseless tragedy, it’s that it renews our gratitude for what we have.
When I heard that there was a Run for Boston on Sunday in my hometown, I immediately wanted to go to connect with the people and the sport that I love. My favorite part of the event was the start. Once everyone was gathered, the announcer told us, “Instead of a moment of silence, I want to have a moment of loudness.” When he lead the crowd in five cheers of “Boston!” chills ran up my spine and tears slid past the rims of my sunglasses. Then, at the word “go” the smiling, laughing rowdy group of runners sped off to greet the morning.
Last week was a crazy week. After returning home from Boston I tried to fall back into my normal routine, but a heavy heart and tired legs were looming. When I saw the #BostonStrong movement, I immediately knew participating in a group run would lift my spirits and sought out a local event.
As I arrived at my local FitNiche store to run #BostonStrong, a wave of emotion washed over my entire being. I stared at the buzzing crowd of 400 people in awe of the support for a sport I adore. I purposely wore my official Boston Marathon shirt as I not only wanted to wear it with pride, but I also hoped to spark curiosity and encourage conversation. In some way, I wanted people to ask me if I ran because I wanted to share my story – not only to give the inquisitive a view from inside, but to also solidify the notion that runners are a resilient bunch.
During the 3 -mile run, I saw runners of all sizes, ages and abilities joining together to honor the victims and to put it quite simply, it was beautiful. As I bolted down the home stretch towards the finish, runners lined the streets clapping and cheering loudly. I couldn’t stop my ear-to-ear grin from beaming as I felt my once heavy heart lift.
I may not have crossed the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, but my #BostonStrong run was the next best thing.