Friday, May 3, 2013

Healing in Community - Marathon Sports

"We don't heal in isolation, we heal in community," is a tag line of Michele Rosenthal founder of Heal My PTSD and author of "Before The World Intruded" a riveting trauma recovery memoir. That sense of healing in community was powerfully evident Wednesday evening as over 300 people came out for the Wednesday night run at Marathon Sports on Boylston Street.

In February of 2008, after declaring that I would run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab, I walked into Marathon Sports to be fitted with my first pair of running shoes - ever. As a polio survivor who lived literally in my head, I had never run and never owned a pair of running shoes.

I was greeted by Spencer Aston who asked me what I was in meaning what running shoes was I wearing. I told him that these running shoes belonged to my daughter and I put them on to come into the store. I had no idea that a friendship would blossom not only with Spencer but so many members of the Marathon Sports family.

Yes Marathon Sports is a family. It's a family woven together by running, a sense of giving back to the community and on the 3rd Monday of every April, the family comes together for Marathon Monday. From the store in Wellesley to the Beacon Street store and at the finish line on Boylston Street, members of the family gather with their families and friends to watch the Boston Marathon.

During our grueling training through one of the most brutal winters, Marathon Sports supported us in our runs. We would gather with Domenick D'Amico at the Brookline store and he would map out our route for the day. He would call the Wellesley store to let them know we were out on the course and that we would be stopping in to use the bathroom, fuel up with water and anything else that we needed to get through our long run. Domenick and the Marathon Sports family got us to the starting line healthy and to the finish line with a smile -- and a lot of tears --

We became very close with the then manager of the Brookline store, Alison who now manages the Melrose store. We were out on the course for a long time and she was so worried about us. She greeted us with hugs and helped us to stretch and warm up once we got back to the store.

My second race ever was the Marathon Sports 5 miler.

We finished dead last and the entire family was there honking and cheering as we crossed the finish line.

Two years ago, I asked the owner Colin if I could watch the marathon in the sweet sacred spot in front of the store. He said of course since I was part of the family. Tom was running for Childrens Hospital Boston and a group from Boston University College of Communication was doing a photojournalism piece on his run. They wanted a clear view of him when he crossed the finish line.

When we needed a donation of a gift certificate for a fund raiser for Tom's 2011 run, Colin gave without hesitation. The proceeds of the 5 miler go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and they are always doing runs which donate to local charities.

Even though I traded in my running shoes for bare feet and a yoga mat, I am still a part of this community of runners. I feel the bond with the members of my Marathon Sports family. And even though a bomb may have torn into the fabric of the store on Boylston Street, it only served to strengthen the fiber of love and community of the Marathon Sports family as you can see from the story from CBS.

Focus on the Healing from Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey Volume II:Seasons of the Soul available on Amazon

Focus on the healing not on the wound
at first blush imperceptible changes
like the first peak at the crocus breaking ground
we can only imagine
what flower will emerge after the darkness of winter…

I had a dream last night
terror filled my body in the darkness
my father the intruder
thunder and lightning filled the room
crashing around me
home made sticky buns on the stove
what a mess

“I never wanted to harm you”

Hyperventilation slows into steady breath
no longer raw and weary from the fight
wounds bound
roots grounded
peace descends
Spirit soars
only the trace of a scar remains
a reminder of the miracle of my life.

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude,


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