This was the first year I was able to enjoy the festivities. Patriots day is a holiday in Massachusetts only, and I have never worked for a company that gave me that day off. Gavin (if you didn't read my bio piece... we are engaged) bought tickets to the Patriots Day Red Sox tickets. (Goooo Sox! FYI, the Sox won that day). The Red Sox always play on Patriots Day (affectionately termed Marathon Monday).
From Marathon to Athens as a messenger to let everyone know that a war was over... I am sure that Pheidippides never thought for one second people would do this for fun and sport. Especially since he died very shortly after he made it to Athens... or so the story goes.
The Boston Marathon is steeped with tradition and as an international event, people come from all over the world to run 26.2 miles from Hopkington to Boston. As I have said before running is a singular act but there is a huge community behind the sport. Everyone is supportive and for the most part not out for blood. Even when people are in it to win it, once they are done they are willing to give back.
Our Marathon Monday...
Gavin and I went to the game at Fenway Park, and not only was I so inspired by all the folks that were running a crazy distance, but I was still high from signing up for my first half marathon. I also had a few friends running it and was hoping to catch a glimpse of them close to the finish line. Now for those of you that don't know Boston geography, Fenway Park is less than 2 miles from the finish line at Copley Place.
We made our way to Kenmore Square (google maps... is a great resource) and then kept walking through the mass of people. They expect 500,000 spectators at the Marathon, and that is over the length of the course, but a LOT of people want to be close to the end to see their friends and family, as well as complete strangers running. Then about 2pm a venue like Fenway dumps 30,000 more people onto the streets of Boston, that is my long winded way of saying that the sidewalks were packed.
Oh man I didn't expect to be so long winded... If you are still with me, so sorry.
We reached the '1 mile to go' sign and a minute later my friend's little sister ran past us.
She isn't in the picture, but it wasn't long after that we saw her go by. Once we saw her we gave up our spot at the fence to walk closer to the finish line. When we reached the Mass Ave bridge I noticed that police had stopped the runners, even in my post game state (I mentioned I like beer... ) I knew something terrible must have happened, they don't JUST stop the Marathon.
I definitely felt the need to help protect my friends little sister and find out what happened and make sure she was alright. I started running on the sidewalk towards the finish line. I stopped when I saw a spectator on his phone who looked like he was getting news and asked him what happened.
"You can't be serious, a bomb at the finish line?"
This is when me being a little bit knackered was seriously regrettable. Cell service was jammed... I wanted to get a hold of my friend to see if her sister and husband were alright. A flood of text messages were coming to my phone but I wasn't able to get messages back to people... runners that had just made it 25 miles without a way to get a hold of their families just milling about or corralled. It is hard enough to regroup after a normal race but this was chaos.
After I collected myself, I got emotional, we were able to get a message out to a runner's husband in North Dakota that she was alright, if nothing else. It was amazing to see the residents of Boylston who opened their homes gave away sweatshirts and did all they could for the misplaced runners.
As far as the first responders, police and all that were at the finish line, the city couldn't have asked for a better group of people. They are all truly heroes!
I tried to declare 4/20 Give a Cop a hug day, mainly because I was able to give my friend, who is a cop who was also in Watertown on 4/19. Not to mention he was also a runner on 4/15 and was able to see the whole tragedy full circle. I know that 4/20 has another meaning and it is also the anniversary of when I met one of my best friends and his wife. Lets face it I am old and I am much more likely to hug a cop than to smoke anything. So in my mind the day has a whole new meaning.
To the families that lost loved ones during this week long tragedy, my heart goes out to them as well as the victims who were injured. It was a tragic event and I can't think about it without getting a lump in my throat.
Boston has been and will be forever Strong, wicked strong if you will. I am proud to be part of the Boston/Massachusetts community and part of the supportive running community.