When we were training for the 2009 Boston Marathon, we wanted to get a break from the brutal New England winter. We spent 5 days in Puerto Rico. On the plane ride home, we did not have seats together. Ruth Anne sat in front of me and struck up a conversation with the two people who flanked her on either side. "Oh man," she said. "I have to get up early to go on an 18 mile training run." Little did she know that she was telling this to Johnny Kelley (the elder's) nephew. Tom Kelley and his wife Dot were enthralled with the story of Team McManus. They sent us an autographed photo of Johnny Kelley and told us that he would be watching over us on Marathon Monday.
They told us stories about Johnny and shared with us that his theme song was, "Young at Heart." It was played at the unveiling of his statue on Heartbreak Hill:
From the first time I ran on Heartbreak Hill on January 24, 2009, I felt its magic.
Yesterday, Tom and I did a five mile run from Newton Wellesley Hospital to Lowell Ave. and back. We hadn't done that part of the course together since we ran it in 2009.
The energy was electric. Runners were going up and down Heartbreak Hill. Everyone said good morning and the feeling of #weruntogether was never more palpable in the City.
Two young girls ran up to us and said, "Excuse me, can you tell us where Heartbreak Hill is?" We said, "This is it. It began at the corner of Comm. Ave. and Washington St." They giggled with delight that they were on Heartbreak Hill obviously training for their first Boston. "We don't have too far to go do we?" "Where you going?" we asked. They said BC. Our advise was to take it one mile at a time.
We then passed these huge trucks and my husband asked what was going on. We were told that NBC is shooting the first pilot in Boston in 20 years for a show called Odyssey about international espionage.
We continued on our run and turned around after reaching Lowell Ave.
As some runners were trudging up Heartbreak Hill we would give thumbs up, say you're looking good and I began saying (much to my husband's chagrin) We Run Together!
Frowns and struggles turned to smiles.
I know that I am not running Boston this year but I can certainly lend my energy, my smile and my support to all those training for Boston. And I can share with others the magic of Heartbreak Hill.
Do you have a favorite Heartbreak Hill moment? Do you remember the first time you ran Heartbreak Hill? If so, please leave a comment.