Friday, May 9, 2014

It's More Than a Book Release Party

On 5/23 from 7:00-9:00pm, Marathon Sports Brookline store closes the door to its customers for the evening and welcomes me and my guests for the official release of "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility."

I feel so blessed and grateful that Ellen Gabriel, manager of the Brookline store offered to host the release party. She said it seemed only fitting since my road to the Boston Marathon began at Marathon Sports where I was fitted for my first pair of running shoes - ever! Ellen was an important part of our Saturday training runs as the manager of the Wellesley store. We stopped there for a pit stop and refueling. She welcomed us, checked in with us and asked if there was anything we needed to ensure the safety and success of our long runs. The kindness and generosity she showed us lives on in my heart.

Marathon Sports has been and continues to be an important part of my healing odyssey. They have offered support and advice as there have been shifts and changes in what I need for footwear. They have supported me when I needed to take time off from running and embraced and celebrated with me when I returned to the roads most recently last May after a two year running hiatus.

When I first showed up at Marathon Sports Brookline wearing sweat pants, a t shirt and my daughter's old running shoes, I cannot imagine what they thought but they saw beyond the person standing before them. They saw a runner who had made the commitment to run the 2009 Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab.

When I look at the RSVP's for the Book Release Party, I realize that the event is more than a book release party. There are people coming together from different chapters of my life; from when I worked at the VA to people I have met in the past year during my return to the roads. There are those with whom I've been friends since I ran the Boston Marathon.

Domenick D'Amico, my beloved coach and trainer who I met at Spaulding Rehab in October of 2008, just happened to be planning a trip to Boston in May. We were able to coordinate the Book Release Party with his trip to Boston.

From my memoir:

We walked into the conference room at the old Spaulding Rehab Hospital on Nashua Street in Boston for our pre race team meeting. I was overcome with emotion to realize that just two years earlier, I was being seen in the outpatient clinic facing a grim and uncertain future. Here I was walking over the thresh hold and through the doors of the conference room with my husband and daughter by my side to join the 2009 Spaulding Hospital Race for Rehab team.

We introduced ourselves and then were introduced to our beloved coach, Domenick D’Amico who told us his job was to get us to the starting line healthy and to the finish line with a smile. I was terrified, excited, determined and feeling fierce and feisty that I, Mary McManus, a polio survivor was going to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

I can imagine and feel the energy in the room with the people who have already RSVP'ed for the event. While we are celebrating the release of my memoir, we are also celebrating the message of healing, hope and possibility. Each person who has RSVP'ed so far has their own story. I envision a mingling of stories, the work that people do and running stories - lots of running stories for sure! There are people who have messaged and emailed me letting me know they sadly are unable to attend but will be there in Spirit!

There will be wine and soda, crackers, cheese and fruit all supplied by Marathon Sports. I will be donating $5 of every book sold that night to the One Fund to continue to support the healing of those injured at the Boston Marathon last year.

Domenick will speak first. I will be reading a few excerpts from my memoir followed by signing copies of my memoir.

It's going to be an evening I will remember and cherish in my heart and I know that it's going to be a lot more than just a book release party.

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