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One Bombing Survivor Tells Her Boston Marathon Story

In 2013, Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer, was at the Boston Marathon to check out what the race was all about. That day resulted in her losing part of her left leg in the tragic finish-line bombings.  

She was not a runner before the bombings, but that all changed, too. She returned to Boston this year to run the iconic race and we spoke with her after her first-ever Boston Marathon to see how the experience affected her.

What was your training like for the race? Did you train with a group or solo?

Training was great. I had a plan and I stuck to it, even through my vigorous busy travel schedule taking me from coast-to-coast on a regular basis. I just carried my leg with me and enjoyed whatever weather was brought my way. I trained both with groups as well as on my own, plugging my headphones in and letting the rhythm take me!

What was your schedule like the weekend of the marathon?

It was amazing! While the anniversary was on Saturday, which was very hard, I made sure to carve out time for what I knew I personally needed. I went to the wreath laying ceremony where I mourned the death of my foot and the life I lived. I cried a ton. I also cried happy tears when I picked up my bib and gear for the marathon that day! I took time out for friends and hugged a lot. That night before I had an intimate dinner with friends and then took it really easy on Sunday. I felt great going into the race; I surprisingly got a really great night’s sleep the night before!

What were your thoughts before you crossed the starting line—and after you crossed the finish line?

I was very focused before crossing the start. My team and I did a huddle where we reminded each other to take the moment and make it what we needed, that it was us as a whole and us as individuals as well. Then we freaked with a very loud, all hands in, “GO BOSTON!!” and the gun went off at that very moment and we were off! The finish line felt like it was so far off. yet as it grew near, from mile one to 26, I passed so many people, best friends and family, and toward the end my teammates just kept saying, “Come run with us! Come to the finish line!” So at the end we had a tribe, some we knew, some we didn’t; it was the most beautiful moment. Everyone was proud to be a Bostonian that day, for all of us 30,000 runners!

What would you like people to know about your journey?

That whatever your marathon is, whether it is heading up a board meeting, finishing school, or going out on a limb with your personal life, you can do it. It will be long and hard and sometimes you will feel like quitting. Yet that is part of the journey! Life is no different than a marathon. I was told after I finished by my best teammate that, “What got you to that finish line is nothing compared to what got you to the start line.” This couldn’t be more true. Sometimes the hardest thing is the journey to face our biggest fears.

And remember, each and every day there are 507 new amputees in this country alone. Give to Limbs for Life so that others can dream big and return to the life they are, for now, just sitting around dreaming about.

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta is the freelance web editor for Women's Running. A freelance journalist, she is the assistant editor at LAVA Magazine and has written for espnW, ELLE, Men's Journal, VICE Sports, Health and more. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.