We got this.
The runners. The bombing survivors. The families, friends, and all the spectators. The volunteers. The police, fire, and medical personnel.
We're all winners today. Let's celebrate.
Last night the Red Sox came roaring back to victory, today it's comeback day for all of us as Boston takes back its Marathon for the 118th running of our glorious race.
The horrific scenes from April 15, 2013 fade further in the rear view mirror with a new Marathon upon us today. New memories, a renewed spirit, and fresh images of survivors and first responders coming back to Boylston Street will rule the day. We look forward to seeing elite runners chase records, and watching the faces of first-timers, charity runners, neighbors and friends crossing the finish line.
Fourteen years and 15 pounds ago was the last time I ran the Boston Marathon. Today, I will be on the starting line and look to cross the finish line as a runner again. On April 15, 2013, I was on the finish line shooting video for Boston.com when the bombs went off. Running this year represents my effort to honor those who died and the survivors of that tragic day, and to help take back Boylston Street for everyone that loves celebrating the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day.
I was fortunate enough to be one of 467 people selected out of 1,200 applicants for the special invitation for those the Boston Athletic Association described as being "personally and profoundly impacted by the events of April 15." Michael Kennedy, the brave Boston firefighter who lost his life battling the deadly nine-alarm fire in the Back Bay last month, was also one of those selected to run by the BAA after writing an essay about his experience responding to the terrorist attacks. Kennedy came running from his firehouse on the corner of Hereford and Boylston Street to help a woman who would lose her leg. He'll be in my thoughts as I run today as well.
I'll be wearing No. 28223 and starting in Wave Four which goes off at 11:25 a.m. The official starter for Wave Four is Amanda Desroches, mother of 13-year-old Shayne Desroches, who was killed riding his bike near his home on Hayden Rowe Street in Hopkinton earlier this year.
Am I ready to run? We'll find out in a few hours. Every day I trained at home, I ran the hills on Commonwealth Avenue, both ways. The hope is that when I get the fire station at the Comm. Ave. turn, it will feel like home and I can crush the hills. Then I'm counting on a little adrenalin and emotional energy to carry me the rest of the way. I expect the environment to be electric from start to finish.
I'm also thinking about something Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge coach and '76 winner Jack Fultz said the first time I ran Boston in '99. He'd ask how long you thought a half-marathon was. If you answered 13.1 miles, you were wrong. The answer is 20 miles. And not until you run the Boston Marathon do you understand why it's the correct answer.
My only real health concern for the race – outside of wishing I was 20 pounds lighter -- is having the four horsemen hold up: right hamstring, left hamstring, right calf, and left calf. They are the biggest threats for me on the course once I get into the high miles. And the long wait in the Marathon Village in Hopkinton before the 11:25 a.m. start is far from ideal.
Good luck to all the runners today. Let's do this because victory is ours.