Boston Marathon Memorials Part III: Susan Stirrat

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 third installment of a twelve part series. This reflection was written by Susan Stirrat of Whirlaway.

Nina and I went over to the Milton track to run today (Tuesday, April 16). It was breezy but it felt good to be out there. This was supposed to be a recovery run but I felt the need to run hard just a couple of miles to get some relief from the pain in my heart from yesterday’s events.

Nina, Mike, Carolee, and I were at the Family Meeting Center waiting for Reno to come in. He made it in 2:47:16. We were all so thrilled. Reno trained through a troublesome hamstring, severe back problems, and the beginnings of self-doubt (probably the worst issue) this winter. Top that off with lots of cold and snow and it was quite a challenging Boston Marathon training year. Reno also got a job this year. It was a blessing after being without work for 3 years, but it certainly had an effect on us. One shared car also cut into both of our training schedules. Reno got up in the morning and went out at 0500 to run in shorts just to get his body used to training in the cold because that is what his hamstring liked the least and he was trying to make it stronger. We kept junk food out of the house (or at least I kept mine hidden!) and we started incorporating lots of anti-inflammatory foods so that we’d both recover more quickly from our runs. The slippery ground made it impossible to do the weekly hill repeats and usual speed workouts, so instead we ran Stu’s hard and did the long runs hard to make up for that. Reno saw a chiropractor for his back. He did everything right and more so that he’d be able to give Boston his all. Still, you never know, even when doing everything right, what the day is going to bring.

 photo by EJN.

photo by EJN.

We saw Reno, Ephraim and Helen off at the start in Hopkinton after having hung out at the Tumbleton’s that morning. Then we drove to mile 12 to see them go by. We got to mile 12 and as we were getting our phones ready to take pictures we heard Reno’s voice. We almost missed him! Then we hopped back in our cars and drove to the finish. We parked in the Copley garage.

As we waited at the finish line the automatic timing service texted me that Reno’s predicted finish time was 2:47. OMG…he was going to do it! After what seemed forever, Reno came prancing through the finish in 2:47:16. His feet hardly touched the ground. He had a big smile on his face. He had accomplished his goal. We went home to watch the video of the marathon because we had seen very little of it.

Suddenly I got a text from my son Liam: “Are you ok? There are bombs going off in Boston at the finish line.” We turned on the news and heard what everyone now knows. Runner dressed simply in shorts and running shoes scrambling in terror. Who would do something like this? What kind of a world have we become? Why kill innocent people?  God forgive me but I just don’t understand.  My beautiful Boston…my running family. This is the thing we do. It is all spirit. It is where we find peace. Where we find God…where we find ourselves. Whoever did this certainly was not a runner. He was a demon. I am praying for my running family and the spectators who were injured and the families of those who were killed. Everyone who ran or was present is surely traumatized by the events. Healing is going to be slow.

—Susan Stirrat


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