The Shoes We Wore
42, South Boston
I ran the Boston Marathon last year because I wanted to prove I could. I ran this year because I felt I could do better. I was miles away from the finish line when I heard about the tragic events. My boyfriend came to retrieve me and bring me home. I cried in the shower. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up crying. I cried at work yesterday. And now I’m just angry. But I will run next year, no matter how slowly, because I am not afraid.
This was my sixth Boston, and I was running to the finish and [she begins to cry] I was thinking about the Newtown kids, because that’s the mile marker. That’s what I had on my mind, running down Boylston. I crossed the finish right as the first bomb went off. It was 2:49:49. At the end of the marathon, it’s really loud and exciting and they’re calling your name when you cross the finish line. But I didn’t hear anything like that. The glass, that’s what I noticed most, glass flying everywhere. And the fire. The policemen were running toward us and just kept saying, “Run, run, run.”
30, South Boston
I told all my friends and my family to go to the finish line, that’s the best place to go. There is just a roar of emotion. It’s the best feeling, it’s a charge. After the explosions, I was so upset not being able to reach anyone because I led all these people to—maybe—their death. It was the worst feeling. It was heartbreaking for everyone. In the days after, I have never felt so proud to be from Boston. Sometimes I freak out about street cleaning and car towing. And don’t get me started on the MBTA. But hearing that people ran to Mass General and to area hospitals to give blood after finishing the marathon—I think it’s amazing. I wish I had the presence of mind to do the same.
This was my first race ever—in my life. I was running in honor of my son, Zachary, who has liver disease, and to raise money for the American Liver Foundation. Zachary’s 11, and he’s going to need a liver transplant at some point before he’s an adult. For the last decade, a man named Tom Nealon, who lives in Miami, has been running and teaming with Zachary to raise money. But Tom is getting up there in age, so he decided that this year he’d hand things over to me. We ran together, and he was with me the whole race. I didn’t get that far because it was my first race, but I was still proud to run. To end Tom’s run, and begin mine, with this horrific act? It’s just terrible. I’m having nightmares.
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