I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who checked in with me after what happened on Monday. I’ve not met any of you in person, but the number of you that reached out to me to make sure me and my friends were okay was truly heart warming. I apologize if I didn’t get to respond to everyone individually, but hopefully you saw my message saying I was okay.
I was with friends about 2-3 miles from the finish line around the 24 mile marker and well away from Copley Square. It took a long time to get home that evening, but that was okay; I was safe and everyone I knew was safe. And as much as I love to complain about the MBTA and hate to admit anything great about them, I have to say their response immediately afterward and ability to get things back up and running mostly that evening and 99% the next day was incredible.
The city is slowly getting back to normal, but there are daily reminders, good and bad, that the Boston is dealing with the aftermath. Every morning I go through Copley station and the station is still closed and it’s an eerie reminder of what happened with all of the lights dimmed. There is still a large area cordoned off around the scene, including the historic Boston Public Library. But the worst is how empty the city feels; it is school vacation week, so many families are out of the city, but the lack of people on the T and walking the streets is eerie.
On the other hand, the people you do see are friendlier to each other. You see people having conversations and smiling at strangers. Yesterday on my way to work I stopped at a Dunkin’ (I’m clearly becoming a local) and a random couple offered to buy the police men on bikes outside a morning coffee. This wouldn’t have happened before and it made me smile.
As tragic as the events were, I don’t want people to forget about the thousands of runners (approximately 23,000) that participated in the marathon. I don’t know about the rest of you, but running for the bus is about as much running as I get in most weeks. Here are three pictures I took hours before everything happened:
They are all taken from around the 23-24 mile marker and from left to right they are the female lead at the time, the male lead pack and one set of many soldiers who marched the entire route with heavily loaded packs. I did see the lead male and female wheelies, but I didn’t get a picture. The rest of the day I cheered for the thousands of ordinary people who ran by. I am still in awe at the will power and the tenacity of those who participated. I saw stroke survivors and blind runners and expectant mothers and Team Hoyt (if you don’t know their story, go read it, it’s inspiring and amazing) and it just made me so proud to live in this city.
If you’ve never been to a marathon, go. Jezebel had a great piece that describes the people who cheer and it was spot on. To see runners start running again as we shouted encouragement brought tears to my eyes many times. I can’t fathom putting myself through something like that, but I can damn well be out there cheering for those who have the nerve and the drive to do it. I’m still hoarse from cheering for so many hours and my sunburn is slowly turning into a tan, and it was worth every minute of it.
I can tell you this much, I WILL be back out there cheering just as hard and just as long next year. And if I know anything about Boston, next year’s marathon will be bigger and better.