Katie McGuire, 20
April 15th was my first marathon, and my first race, ever. I thought the first three miles of training in December was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I finished it. When I crossed the start line on Monday I knew the only way home to Boston was to run there. The miles started passing quickly; I caught up to my roommate, passed my family in Wellesley, hit the hills in Newton, and met my classmates at Boston College. I knew that I would finish my first marathon, my first race, and with my best friend. Around mile 22 the radio on my iPod cut out, “Explosions at the finish line.” The pain in my legs disappeared, the tears of accomplishment turned to tears of fear, and my phone, dead since mile 17, gave no consolation to the pit in my stomach concerning my family, friends, and teammates at the finish line. My roommate dropped out at mile 23, where her family was waiting, but I had to keep going. My sister’s phone number was the only thing I could hear in my head and the only thing I could think about. I was finally stopped at mile 25, met with the incredible support, courage, and strength of Boston Police, military personnel, volunteers, runners, and complete strangers. My friend Tara’s aunt offered her home in Brookline to me, her uncle gave me a ride back to BC, and I am forever indebted to their kindness on that day. I had learned of my family’s safety, my friend’s safety, and then my teammates’ safety, and was devastated that many weren’t so lucky. But I never got to finish. Next year I, and all of Boston, will run home and finish what we started.
—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey