I had planned on having a pumped up, excited Marathon Monday post today. The day started off wonderfully. The weather was perfect, not too cold and certainly not as hot as last year. Crowds 4-5 people deep lined the course. The elite men's and women's fields had multiple lead changes and exciting finishes. The usual excitement of the Marathon that overtakes the great city of Boston was in full-swing.
However, all of that changed at approximately 2:50pm. 2 explosions seconds apart on Boylston Street at the finish line changed everything. Runners and fans alike ran in all directions. Boston Police, National Guard, and health care personnel sprang into action to assist the wounded. People stood dumbfounded, still not grasping what had just happened around them. Initially, people thought maybe it was a manhole cover or a blown transformer. We have learned it was actually what everyone had feared - 2 bombs, purposely positioned and deployed at the end of the world's oldest marathon. Set off at a time when a large group of runners would be running through and fans would be cheering along the street.
My husband and I stayed home this year. We watched from our window, as we live on the race route, just shy of mile 21. We spent the morning cheering on the runners and wheelchair participants. We watched the elite runners fly by and the amateurs and charity runners do their best to make it to that coveted finish. The crowds began tapering off and I had contemplated watching a movie when my friend texted me to turn on the TV to the news. She told me there had been explosions at the finish line. Gary and I watched in stunned silence as the local news replayed the footage of the blasts, of the smoke wafting into the air, of the frantic race officials and police officers rushed to the aid of those injured. In sheer disbelief we wondered, how could this happen? Who would do this? And why?
The phone calls and texts poured in from our friends and family, both in Boston and across the country. I volunteered in the medical tent at the finish line last year helping to treat runners with dehydration, cramps and blisters. This year, that very same tent was now treating burn victims and those with extremity injuries. While I was happy to put every one's fears to rest that we were safe and nowhere near the site of the explosions, I couldn't help feeling like I wish I was in that tent today. I felt so hopeless sitting at home, staring at the TV wide-eyed, feeling like I had been punched in the stomach.
We have lived here for nearly 3 years now and consider Boston home. This shouldn't happen in your home. This shouldn't happen anywhere. As one of my good friends and a fellow runner asked, "why do people have to ruin anything that's fun in life?" And I think that's a significant question because at the heart of the Boston Marathon IS fun. It's a race that brings people together from across the globe. The whole state of Massachusetts and city of Boston come out to support perfect strangers who embark on this crazy, long 26.2 mile stretch, beginning in Hopkinton, through Newton and up Heartbreak Hill, and to downtown Boston, ending at Copley Square, where the finish line is marked 365 days a year. Competition, camaraderie, charity; these are all parts of this too. Massachusetts is considered "the Spirit of America" (and we have our license plates to prove it!). The Boston Marathon is the spirit of the running community. Today that spirit was broken by tragic, unspeakable events. But I do have hope and I know in my heart that Boston and running will come back from this stronger than ever.