Yesterday the big day was finally here. It was time for the 2014 Boston Marathon! After months of preparation, significant effort to fundraise and more cold winter runs than I would have hoped for we loaded the buses at Boston Common to make our way out to the starting line in Hopkinton.
In 2013, Beth Ann was unable to finish the Marathon due to the terrorist attacks at the finish line. You can read more about our 2013 race experience by clicking here. Given what unfolded, this year I pledged to run with Beth Ann for the entire race and promised to her that we would cross the finish line together. What might have started out as just a “nice husband sort of offer” turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have ever made surrounding running a race.
As we lined up at the starting line, the emotion of hitting the Boston Marathon course was pretty overwhelming. I looked at Beth Ann and told her “We’re going to do this” and post fist-bump we were off. The first several miles of the race went really well; we hit a nice stride and the support along the course was nothing short of amazing. The course was jam-packed with supporters and whether they were a casual observer sitting in a lawn chair and clapping or a raucous college student imbibing the same number of beers as we would be running miles, the supporters were screaming from the start to the finish line and helped motivate runners along the way.
Thanks to the Thirsty Irish Runners for their support at the Mile 4 water stop. Perfect timing as we arrived at the water stop as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ was blaring on their speakers!
Around Mile 10 or so Beth Ann started to experience some rather bad leg cramping and knee pain which really began to impact the run. As we continued along, there became a point where Beth Ann looked at me and told me to go run without her but I committed to cross the finish line with her. It wasn’t an option to leave her; we were going to do this together. As we continued along the course, we mixed running and walking to help ease some of the pain. After a couple of emotional breaks, I told Beth Ann we would get to the finish together and I was proud of her. We both reminded ourselves of why we were running (raising money for a cause so near and dear to us) and we knew the finish line would get here soon enough.
The Wellesley College girls were amazing as always and their signs were better than 2012 when I ran Boston before. The Boston College students cheered for us with the same fervor as if we were running neck and neck for 1st and 2nd place. The crowds simply did not let up and certainly did not disappoint.
Between Miles 23 and 24 were my brother, my parents and family friends. Thankfully, Owen had the requisite gummy bears to help fuel the last stretch and the cheers of my parents was an added boost. It was awesome to have them there. They spent a long day in the city waiting to see us get to where they were but having them there even for the brief few seconds we stopped to say hello meant the absolute world to both Beth Ann and I.
As we made our way to the Mile 25 mark the famous Citgo sign became visible and knowing the route, we knew we were close to the finish line. Making our way into the Mass. Ave tunnel where so many runners were stopped last year was quite an emotional fete and as we made our final right hand turn onto Hereford Street, I looked at Beth Ann and she said “Let’s do this.” We ran on Hereford and then made the final left hand turn onto Boylston. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes when she challenged me to sprint into the finish line and was so incredibly proud to be joining her crossing the Boston Marathon finish line. Racing down Boylston was quite emotional as we ran past where I was standing last year, the location of the two blasts and the sites that even for non-marathoners became emblazoned in the minds of so many. We did it! We finished the Boston Marathon! The time was 6:02:18 or 13:50/miles. Beth Ann beat herself up a couple times on the course and told me “It’s just not my day.” To that, I say hogwash. We finished the Boston Marathon, an accomplishment most people can only dream of. It was her day. It was our day.
Having the volunteer place the medal over each of our necks was also quite an emotional point of the day and one that I will never forget. We earned the medal this year and Beth Ann received the honor of having the medal placed around her neck this year that was so senselessly taken away from her last year.
So now, with the race behind us, it is time for rest, ice, refueling and thanking all of those who supported us. We have raised over $7200 for Tufts Medical Center and The Floating Hospital for Children. You can read more about our efforts here.