The Shoes We Wore #BostonShoes

Kathy Slowey48

I grew up in Allston. My dad took me running along the Charles as a kid. The marathon was a big event. We’d go to Lake Street, in Brighton, and watch in awe. I remember my dad’s first marathon, then my brother’s, neighbors’, and friends’. Finally, at 48, this was my year. Running for Children’s Hospital, I trained hard. The day was filled with excitement. The fans were amazing, but the course was tough, and I struggled. At Kenmore Square, I could sense the finish line. Then, at Mass. Ave., I was told to stop running. Stop running? It took so long to register. My disappointment and confusion turned to absolute fear when bystanders told me what had happened. I made a mental list of who was waiting near the finish: my husband, my kids, my dearest friend, runners I knew, cops I knew. I felt numb. Then complete strangers came to aid me and other runners stopped short by the tragic events. They offered trash bags for warmth, water, food—any measure of comfort and support. I found out by text that my family and friends were okay. My first marathon had become a different sort of journey from a very dark place to a brighter, stronger place where I felt loved and supported. In the end, the race didn’t matter.  There will always be another Boston Marathon. The way everyone responded that day at Mass. Ave. and across the city, that’s what makes me proud to be a Bostonian. And I will be back for the 118th.

—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey