Boston Marathon Memorial Part XII: Ray Charbonneau

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As we prepare for the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy, Level Renner is re-releasing the memorials and reflections of the running community written one year ago in the wake of the 117th running (these letters from readers were originally published in our May/June 2013 issue). Our intention is to pay proper respect and tribute to the events of last year’s race. We want nothing more than to handle the tragedy with appropriateness and tact. Because we see ourselves as an open platform for runners, this series is an expression of our audience’s thoughts from a year ago.  Thus, in the following pages, you will find an array of responses.  Some are angry, some are numb, most are just plain sad.  But some offer hope. Most show the strength and resolve of our community. The goal of this series is to remember and pay proper respect to the horrific events of April 15, 2013.  We will release one post per day in this series in the days leading up to the marathon.

Below is the final installment of our twelve part series. Ray Charbonneau, a Level Renner regular columnist, wrote this reflection.

This year, I ran Boston as the sighted guide for Mike Merino, a visually-impaired runner from Texas. We started in the third wave and finished when the clock read 4:02:15 (Mike’s chip time was an amazing 3:58:47 – try weaving through the crowds at Boston with your eyes closed and see how you do). We had just received our medals when the bombs went off.

Sometimes heroism is just doing your job when stuff happens. There were many heroes on Patriot’s Day. I’d like to recognize one particular group – the BAA volunteers at the finish line. After the second bomb went off there was a surge in the crowd and I began to worry that Mike would be trapped in a panicky mob.  But the volunteers did just the right thing – exactly what they were doing before the blast, just more of it.  They doubled their efforts to keep people WALKING forward. It didn’t hurt that most runners were too tired to run, but if the yellow jackets didn’t do what they did, there could have been chaos.

—Ray Charbonneau

photo by EJN


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