Caroline Suttlehan, 20

YonkersNew York

This was my first marathon. I’m not much of a runner, so my goal was simply to finish—which made walking away at 25.8 hard to swallow. But I’m lucky to be here and lucky to have my parents. I had seen them at Mile 17, where I had given them a hug and told them I’d see them again at the finish line. The twenty minutes I spent trying to find them down at the barricade felt like twenty hours, as I tried to imagine life for my brothers and I without our parents. I wake up every day at BC feeling completely blessed to have my family safe back at home.

I continue to pray for those who lost their lives that day—just like I pray for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Little do they know, their heinous act brought out the best of Boston. Even though I didn’t finish, I wear my marathon jacket with pride because I learned something important that day. It’s not about the medal I would have gotten at the finish line, but about the thousands who cheered me on along the way. I had originally planned to study abroad next spring, but I changed my plans. There is no way I’m going to miss the chance to cross that finish line next year. This time, I’m doing it for them.

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