Marathon Monday is one of the best days of the year. It’s a day where elite, superhuman athletes compete in the same field as moms who get up at the crack of dawn to train, where people who have lost weight, changed their lives, or overcome illness to do the impossible, soldiers who walk 26.2 miles weighed down by gear. It’s a day where millions are raised for charities, and everyday people who trained all winter take on that historic route for the experience of a lifetime. It’s a day for people like my colleague Ashley, who raised over $10k in memory of an uncle who died from blood cancer to show they are made of amazing stuff.
It’s a day when people who have suffered the unimaginable, like my Team ALLY founders, step out to raise their voices for their causes, while celebrating the achievements of those who go the extra mile for them,
It’s the best marathon in the world, and I am proud to say that I’ve run it four times. The people of Massachusetts are at their best on Marathon Monday, bringing out garden houses to spray hot runners on 90 degree days, losing their voices to keep strangers moving along the course.
If you have spoken with me at any length, you know that walking down Boylston Street always makes me choked up, always, some of the best moments of my life have been at that yellow and blue strip. I go out of my way to run past it, always stepping off the curb to touch with my toes that symbol of strength and accomplishment.
It’s always a day for heroes of all kinds.
(All photos from previous Boston Marathons)
So when a coward or group of cowards thinks they can ruin that, they are mistaken. Our hearts are broken after the horrific losses and injuries of Marathon Monday 2013, but we will always be better than those who think they can destroy our happiness and freedom.
We are for sure shaken, numb, devastated, but a day that always brings individual triumphs brought a very different kind of hero this time around.
From men and women who ran toward the blasts to usher victims out, to the restaurant employees who took off belts and clothes to stop bleeding, to the thousands who offered up guest rooms, bathrooms, showers, and hot meals to those whose lives are changed forever by what they saw, Marathon Monday 2013 was unmistakably a day for heroes.
It was also a day that changed us forever. I have always felt really safe here in Boston, so walking down an empty Boylston Street tonight, smoky smell still in the air, took my breath away. Standing outside the Paulist Center, holding on to a priest’s hand searching for some comfort, standing amongst a crowd on the Boston Common, staring at endless TV coverage reminds me constantly how much has changed in the last 24 hours, and that has created a sadness whose depths are unending. I feel like we are never going to be happy again. My heart wants to stop for those who lost so much, those who lost everything in our city.
I wish I had something profound to say or could provide some sort of answer, but my heart hurts too much, and I can’t imagine how hurt the victims and their families are.
My prayers and thoughts and every bit of my soul are with the families of Martin, Krystle, and the yet-to-be-named BU grad school student who died, along with all of those who suffered injuries, who saw suffering they will never forget, and those who are working round-the-clock to find answers and heal wounded bodies and spirits.
Sending so much love to my city, now and always.