Jeff Pflanz, 20
It’s difficult to explain the spirit of the Boston Marathon. There’s something magical in experiencing thousands of individuals supporting complete strangers struggling through the most physically demanding event of their lives. After shouting my heart out at the 116th Boston Marathon, I had no idea what I was in for in my first marathon. With 26 miles lined with high fives and smiling faces, there was always something pushing me through my pain. However, one of the best days of my life came crashing down at mile 25, where two of my friends and I were among the first runners stopped. My desire to finish faded as soon as I thought of friends waiting for me at Copley. But amidst the indescribable chaos and confusion, the spirit of the marathon took on a new form. Runners and spectators alike came together to reach out to anyone confused and in need. I will never forget Sue, a stranger who offered help as I was frantically trying to make calls. She did not leave my side for two hours. I can only hope that I would display such courage and generosity under similar circumstances. But for now, I find that I still need to cross the finish line—for myself, for everyone affected, and for everyone that responded. See you next year.