Monday, April 28, 2014

Every Finish Line is a Starting Line

How wonderful to have so much to celebrate about the Boston Marathon 2014. Articles abound celebrating the race for so many reasons. Meb was the first American to win Boston since 1983. An unprecedented 99% of the runners who toed the line at Hopkinton crossed the finish line. There was a record number of women who ran the 2014 Boston Marathon. Jessica Kensky who lost a leg at last year's tragedy, won the Women's Handcycle Division and finished the Boston Marathon side by side with her husband Patrick Downes who had also lost a leg in the bombings. Here is an excerpt from the BAA's thank you:

The race may be over, but the memories of what we all experienced over this past year will rest in our hearts forever. From the entire family at the Boston Athletic Association, we want to thank every individual and organization who stepped forward to help us navigate this year’s 26.2 mile journey across eight of our most spectacular cities and towns.

My heart is full of wonderful memories of events leading up to the Marathon. Being #supportcrew for long runs was a joy even in the frigid, icy, snowy temperatures. We met so many wonderful people along the way. I was blessed to be part of packet stuffing day. The L Street Running Club pre marathon meeting was filled with tears, cheers and inspiration. The City came alive with the events of Marathon Weekend. I watched the BAA 5K, the Tribute Run and went to the Expo. On Sunday, I met Jeff Bauman, Carlos Arredondo and was part of a tribute at Fenway Park.

Once everyone's nerves and fears settled, we were able to relax and enjoy the Boston Marathon as it was meant to be enjoyed. Tom took this video as the entourage for the men's leader made its way down Beacon Street just prior to mile 23:

"I knew Meb was gonna win. I told him so," said a runner passing by who saw Tom holding up the sign that said "MEB WON!" to inspire the runners just before mile 23 last Monday. We thought, "Oh sure you did." After this runner completed his Marathon he found us on Beacon Street. He had his medal and showed us his bib that was signed by Meb. He told us he saw Meb at the Expo. Meb told him that he was not the fittest he'd ever been but he was the healthiest. Meb said his wife told him that's just the way she likes it to be. This runner told Meb that he was gonna win and had him sign his bib. On Tom's train ride home from work on Tuesday, he spotted someone wearing an orange jacket and medal. They talked about the marathon and Tom mentioned that he was so overcome with joy that Meb won, he wanted to share it with the runners to inspire them on their run and made the sign. It sure worked as I share in my blog from last week. And this marathoner on the train told Tom that he remembered seeing that sign.

On Tuesday, Tom and I went to a post marathon celebration with "The Feeney Sisters" who ran Boston for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. We had a fabulous time at Doyle's

They were volunteers at last year's marathon and their father was a patient at Spaulding after he fell while visiting his daughters in Boston. They posted on Facebook that they were having a fund raiser in March. When I saw that they were not near their fund raising goal and read their story, I told Tom that we had to go. I was so happy we did. It was one of the best fund raisers we had been to:

They told me that after Spaulding told them about my journey to inspire runners on the Race for Rehab team, that my story inspired them during their training runs through this grueling New England winter. At the post marathon party, Julie showed me her forearm. She told me that she wrote my name, along with a few other names, to inspire her Boston Marathon run. She said that she was hot, tired and nauseous but she knew that she had to make it to the finish line. I was humbled and in awe of how my story had inspired them.

Tom, Ruth Anne and I were blessed to spend the day with Elizabeth Comeau's mom waiting for Elizabeth to come down Beacon Street sporting her red #miles4smiles singlet:

Tom spotted her and screamed out her name. She turned around and came over to where we were standing. "I was afraid I was gonna miss you guys," she said. We shared a group hug, gave her some water and sent her on her way to the finish. Elizabeth had been at the finish line last year covering the Marathon for the Globe. She chronicled this past year in her blog . We shared the emotional build up to Marathon Monday at a fund raiser in March, and via chats on Facebook. We fist pumped and celebrated when we got the text that she crossed the finish line and we saw her post on Facebook:

As the BAA said, the memories of what we experienced during this past year will forever remain in our hearts. We were blessed to create many new memories of the Boston Marathon 2014. These new memories are a healing balm for all that went before since April 15, 2013. We crossed the finish line of a year of healing and putting our lives and our city back together. Today we cross a new starting line.

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