For the first time in the past 3 years, I wasn’t spectating or volunteering at the Boston Marathon this year. I had visited my friend Kelly during Boston Marathon weekend in 2011 to run the BAA 5K and cheer on friends in the marathon, and last year I had the honor of volunteering at Water Stop 5 with other volunteers at the Alzheimer’s Association. I vividly remember it was 88 degrees for the 2012 Boston Marathon, and the water stop was the place to be!
My 2011 and 2012 visits to the Boston Marathon:
I was sitting at my desk at work on Monday, 4/15, when I heard the news of the blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line around 3:00pm. My blood ran cold, as I had been tracking my friends’ progress in the race all morning and I immediately thought of their safety.
Terrorist attacks have hit very close to home for me, as my dad narrowly escaped the 1993 WTC bombing and events of 9/11/01 (he used to work at the Marriott World Trade Center). I was two blocks away from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and was evacuated, so I’m especially sensitive to hearing news of mass casualties and terrorist attacks.
I immediately called and texted anyone I knew who was running or volunteering at the Boston Marathon. I also checked social media channels once the confusion subsided and people in Boston realized that family and friends were worried about their safety. I was checking CNN and other news outlets excessively. At the end of the day, an ESPN reporter named Bonnie Ford wrote one of the most moving pieces about the events of the day, found here.
One by one, my running friends responded and said they were ok. I remembered my friend Alex had a history of volunteering at the finish line medical tent, so I called him to make sure he wasn’t hurt by the blasts. He picked up almost immediately, and I could hear pandemonium in the background. He reassured me he was ok, but he talked about all these little kids coming into the tent with injuries, and I could hear the edge in his voice. Not wanting to distract from his medical volunteer duties, I told him I was relieved he was ok and would share the news with our friends. He later wrote a deeply moving blog post about his experiences here.
As the day went on, my eyes were glued to my phone for updates. I felt sick to my stomach. I heard there were three deaths and 144 injuries, and one of the dead was later identified as 8-year-old Martin Richard. Who could take a joyous event like a marathon and turn it into such a scene of carnage? Why?? It was all so senseless and tragic.
Thank you to all my friends and family who were asking if I was ok. Your concern means more to me than you’ll ever know.
My heart goes out to all the victims, runners, staff at the B.A.A. and anyone else affected by the tragedy. The Boston Marathon is such a beautiful event and it hurts my heart to see not only the event but the city suffer in this way.
When I run the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, 4/21/13, I will run strong in the memory of those lost and injured. I will run with a special “We are all Boston Marathoners” bib and black ribbon, and I will think about our beloved running community every step of the way.