Allie O’Hearn, 20
I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon for the Campus School of Boston College with more than 300 other BC students. My friend Natalie and I had come off a high of running through BC at mile 21. It was awesome to see all our friends rooting us on. Natalie’s parents were waiting for us at mile 24. We were almost at the finish, and I could picture my parents waiting for me. I was ready to jump into my dad’s warm embrace and see the proud smile on his face. Natalie’s dad began to run by our side. He told us there was a bombing at the finish line. A fleet of police cars zoomed by us on the road. My mind went blank, and all I could think of was the safety of my family. I called my parents nonstop as I ran. My dad finally answered and told me the severity of the situation, but that they were okay. Natalie and I were stopped with one mile to go. Watching the Boston College community come together has been an amazing experience—more beautiful than crossing any finish line. The marathon has made me realize how much love and support I have in my life. I cannot stress enough how proud I am to call Boston my home.
—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey