My memories of April 15, 2013 come back in flashes. It began before the sun came up as I pulled on my yellow Campus School Volunteers Marathon Team shirt and laced up my sneakers. It continued as I sat in Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, hardly believing that I was about to run a marathon. The race began with immediate cheers and a burst of confidence. Halfway through, hundreds of Wellesley girls held up signs and cheered, making up the Scream Tunnel. Heartbreak Hill told me that I never wanted to run again. Reaching Mile 21 at Boston College reminded me why I run in the first place. A few miles later, the day grew cold and terrifying.
It has taken me nearly a year to process how I felt after that day. First, there was fear. Confusion, tears, all-encompassing exhaustion. Next, there was anger. I was selfishly angry that something had been taken from me on that day, but I was even angrier that two boys barely older than I am would injure so many people and take four lives. I very rarely use the word “hate” but for a long time, I truly hated the bombers. Then, there was guilt. If I had run faster or taken fewer breaks to walk, I might have been there when the bombs went off. I would have put my parents, who were waiting for me at the finish line, in danger. I would have been responsible for two of my best friends, who ran with me from BC, getting hurt. I made it safely back to BC that afternoon while hundreds of other people did not. Now, nearly a full year later, I feel a mixture of these emotions. Most importantly, I feel proud to have been part of such a significant event.
Although it was disappointing to learn that bandits could not run this year, the Campus School Marathon Committee made a respectable decision in creating a Bandit Marathon on April 13th, as Amanda discussed in her recent article. While this was a difficult decision, it was the right one. This is an amazing opportunity for the BC runners who have put in the hours of hard work and training to reach 26.2 miles.
Although I originally planned to run, it turns out that I’ll be a spectator for both the BC and Boston marathons this year. However, I’ve seen just how important the spectators are, too. With the loud cheers filling the streets of Boston, it is harder to hear the voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it.
As Boston magazine said on its cover last spring, “We Will Finish the Race.” This poster hangs in my dorm room as a reminder of that day and what it means to me. I can’t finish it this year, but I hope that I can run for a charity in the near future. Although I would love to cross the finish line on April 21st, I think that this marathon, for me, is about unity and strength. I can’t think of a better way to spend my Marathon Monday this year than with my BC family.
Walking down Boylston Street, I see the freshly painted blue and yellow finish line. I see signs on lampposts lining the streets with pictures of spectators and runners alongside quotes such as “We Run Together.” I get choked up for just a minute, but I also have to smile. I’m reminded of the beautiful, resilient city that I call home.
Photo sources: bostonmagazine.com, twitter.com/energybits