Tag: tragedy

Thousands Raised for CAF

Pints for Prostheses

On Wednesday night, some local runners hosted a fundraiser benefitting the Challenged Athletes Fund (CAF). There were so many people involved in this great event, some of whom were: Michael and Rebecca Roberston, Thor Kirleis, Lindsay Smith, Meagan Drumm, Emmett Murphy, Lauren Ryba Davides, and EJN. Thor’s wife Heather was responsible for all the great graphic design work (see the banner up above).

According to Michael Robertson, over $3,800 has been raised so far. Between admission ticket sales, raffle tickets and then the silent auction, there were plenty of ways for people to give. The silent auction included items such as Bruins tickets, signed Bruins hockey sticks, entry to the Falmouth Road Race and gift certificates to various stores.

Stephen Currid holds up his prize sheet. He’s the proud owner of a new pair of Skechers.

Through the Level we were able to get prizes from Skechers (shoes) and Fitzgerald PT (AlterG time), along with a special Level prize package (t-shirt, charity promotional opportunity, race entry).

Shane O’Hara made an appearance later, bringing with him some of his Wednesday night Marathon Sports group run crew. It was great to see so many people turn out to help out such a worthy cause. To find out more about the CAF, you can read their response to the Boston bombings here.

We are still accepting donations on our Pints For Prostheses event page, so you can still help make a difference!

Kirsch on the Mountains

Paul Kirsch is deeply involved in the Mountain/Ultra/Trail (or MUT) running community. Paul serves as both a team manager for the US Mountain Running Team and also the MUT Chair on the USATF-NE board. It’s only natural that we turn to him when looking to get a finger on the pulse of the mountain scene. Road races are all the rage these days, but there’s just something gritty, hard-nosed and olde school about mountain running that the Level finds very appealing. We plan on expanding our scope to cover more of that, and here’s a nice intro to the 2013 mountain running circuit from Paul:

It’s been a tough last month in the running community, especially in New England, where we all know someone who was within 50 or 100 feet of the bomb blast on April 15th. I remember going for a trail run the morning of the 16th with my dogs. What is normally my zen moment of the day, my escape from all that is tough and stressful in the world, had been fouled by the tragic events of the day before. A few heartless people had taken our outlet, our escape and done something that caused us to associate it with sadness and pain and death.

I say all of the above with the perspective of someone who was affected on a minimal level compared to the people who were there in Boston that day. I can only imagine what they are all going through on so many levels.

I’ve continued to have those thoughts all in the back of my head until this past Sunday when I made the early morning drive over to Huntington, VT for the first race in the 2013 USATF New England Mountain Running Circuit. When you live in rural New Hampshire and you drive across NH and VT at 4AM, it’s hard not to be at peace and pretty mellow on the drive. No one is on the road, the scenery is amazing, and you better have a well stocked iPod because Satellite radio only gets reception for about 50% of the time. When I got to Sleepy Hollow Ski and Bike Center in Huntington, I started to see familiar faces and I was reminded again of the amazing feeling of community and all that is right with the world when I am in the midst of my favorite people - the mountain running folks. We come in all shapes, sizes and abilities but we all share a fierce competitive spirit and a good sense of humor, as we voluntarily go up and down mountains for the fun of it. It was the perfect antidote to my feelings of the last 3 weeks.

Leslie O'Dell Beckwith appears to be all smiles at Sleepy Hollow. Courtesy of Scott Mason.

Leslie O’Dell Beckwith appears to be all smiles at Sleepy Hollow. Courtesy of Scott Mason.

Sleepy Hollow is the perfect way to kick off that beautiful simplicity that is mountain running- a low key race with a focus on a quality course and enough amenities to enjoy it but not so many that the “race” gets lost in the “event” of it all. The race is organized by Kasie Enman and Liz Hollenbach and the GMAA. That’s Kasie Enman as in “2011 World Mountain Running Champion” Kasie Enman, because, in the no-ego world of mountain running, it makes perfect sense that the world champion would follow up her amazing performance in 2011 by organizing a great mountain race for the rest of us.

I look forward to race #2 in the circuit at Wachusett and the rest of the series, surrounded by amazing people, who will remind me throughout the series of the amazing vibe of the mountain running community and everything that is right in the world with runners.

We do have something coming on the Sleepy Hollow race, I swear! Come on Newbould, all eyes are on you. No pressure no pressure no pressure…

Memorial Bridge

At the most recent USATF-NE board meeting (held on Monday, May 6th), association president Tom Derderian presented an artist’s rendition of a new footbridge in Boston. The bridge would not only replace the current eyesore, but would also memorialize the victims of the bombing and a be symbol of the strength of the community and the race.

Of the proposed bridge, Tom said:

“Yes, the Boston Marathon Bombings have shocked, angered, and saddened us. USATF-NE has made a cash donation. Now it is time to plan for a lasting memorial to the victims, the race, and the community. At Monday’s USATF-NE board we unanimously approved a concept for a running gateway bridge over the Mass Pike connecting the Boston University area with the Allston/Harvard area. There is already an aging, ugly bridge there, but the proposed span would arch the highway with signage that would greet visitors to the Boston Stong/Marathon City. Competitors to the marathon would pass under the bridge into the city and on buses out to the starting line. Mayor Menino  said, “I’m proud to say that the car is no longer king in Boston.”  This running/cycling bridge would show the mayor’s vision to visitors and residents. Bridges are symbolic as ways to bring people together and that is something that runners and the larger community need in the wake of the bombing. Such easements to exercise are of course good public health measures.”

The bridge in question that this one would replace is by the Regina Pizzeria in Allston, where the Mass Pike goes under Cambridge St. It certainly is an ambitious project and will take a lot of hard work and cooperation to get done, but with a little luck we could soon have an inspiring arch welcoming people into the city.

NBB Headed to Austin

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New Balance Boston Athletes to Represent Boston at Red Sock Relays

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 12.14.47 PM(Austin, TX) -­ Sarah Crispin and Dan Kramer from New Balance Boston are the latest athletes to confirm their participation in the Austin Track Club’s Red Sock Relays, being held in Austin, TX on May 11. Crispin, a two-­time All-­American in the 800 meters and distance medley relay at Tufts University, has been with New Balance Boston since 2007. Kramer attended McGill University in Montreal, where he earned all-­Quebec honors in cross country and several conference championships in the indoor 1500 meters. After graduating McGill, Kramer ran with Montreal Endurance (now McGill Olympic) before returning home to the Boston-­area and joining New Balance Boston.

Crispin’s participation adds an extra level of significance to the Relays through the event’s beneficiary, the GiveForward fund established on behalf of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky. Downes and Kensky were severely wounded in the Boston Marathon attacks. Downes and Crispin were co-­workers at The Giffords School, and when she learned about their injuries, Crispin wrote a blog for the running website Level Renner asking for donations for her friends. “That was how Sarah first came to our attention,” says Austin Track Club director George Perry. “We were looking for a beneficiary that would allow us to make a direct, personal impact on someone who survived the attack. At the same time, Sarah was reaching out to the community she knows best. Once we were put in contact with her, it didn’t take much convincing to get her to sign up.”

Crispin and Kramer join Matt Duffy of the Northern California-­based Asics Aggies and the Austin Track Club’s roster as the elite athlete contingent at the Relays. These athletes will be available to any mile relay team looking for an extra burst of speed to get under the 4:15 time that earns a donation on the team’s behalf. An elite mile race will cap off the Relays’ festivities, which include a series of 200-­meter sprints, all-­comers mile relays and individual miles, and a social media scavenger hunt powered by MapMyFitness.

Registration for the Red Sock Relays will cost $10. For more information, please visit www.redsockrelays.com.

The Austin Track Club, L3C, a low-­profit limited liability company, is a professional track and field team with the mission to train, develop and support aspiring Olympic athletes. Since its inception the club has coached numerous athletes to compete in national and international competitions, most notably 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano.

The Return of the Group Run

Marathon Sports hosted their usual Wednesday night group run, but there was nothing usual about this particular run. It was the first time that the group has been able to meet at the Boylston St location since the bombing on Patriot’s Day. On an average night one can expect to find about 40 people gathered for a workout, but last night drew a crowd of closer to 300.



The gathering was so big that it caught the attention of more than just the underground running media, as mainstream outlet WBZ was on hand to cover it as well.

Before the run started, store manager Shane O’Hara addressed the crowd and reminded us to keep the victims “in your hearts, minds and in your miles.” Although the store looked great and it was a positive upbeat environment, there are still people out there that need your help. Talking to Shane after the event, he mentioned  a couple of people that were badly hurt, and I believe this is the link to help them out directly.

Shortly after that, members of the run club presented Shane with a plaque thanking him (and the rest of the company) for his service to the running community.

After the run, returning runners were greeted with pizza provided by Bertucci’s and drinks and snacks from Shaw’s.

Below are some pics taken during the event, and additional pics can be found on the Level Instagram page:

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See you there next Wednesday!

Help Needed

Special guest blog by Sarah Crispin

boston marathon blue ribbon 4.16.13On Monday my good friend Patrick and his new wife were both hurt in the Boston Marathon Bombings.  My understanding is that they each lost a leg, and are currently in different hospitals. Right now it looks like they are both going to be okay.

I have not yet had the good fortune to meet Patrick’s wife, but Patrick was a friend of mine from The Gifford School. We carpooled together every day for my first two years at Gifford, worked together, and often went out to watch (what else) the Red Sox.

You will not find a better person. He is the kindest, most selfless man I have ever met. I have every confidence that he will handle this with the grace, style, and infallible humor that characterize him. I wish I possibly had adequate words to describe how very, truly, GOOD he is. He’s the kind of person who is there when the chips are down, miraculously appears when your car needs to be jump started, and knows when you just need a hug and no words. I absolutely love him and am heart broken that he is among the affected.

I know that he and his wife are going to have loads of medical expenses as a result of this tragedy. I’m pasting the link to Patrick’s fundraising page below. If you have a second, take a look at it. If you have a few extra dollars, please donate. If you don’t, that is really, truly, OK, but please leave a message of support. Anything is helpful.

To my Team: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

To everyone: There are lots of you seeing this (again, I am so lucky), so please DO fwd this to anyone who you think might be able and willing to help. Post it on Facebook, tweet about it, send it to all of your coworkers, your entire class, your entire team, etc., anything to get it out there.

Quick aside, also to everyone: It’s worth noting that Tim Ritchie ran 2:21 (5:24 mile pace) in his marathon debut on Monday, coming in 25th overall. That is nasty. Katie Sheedy, my former 800m training partner at Tufts, ran 2:58 (6:50 mile pace). Sorry guys, but you deserve new fans! Their hard work and grueling efforts should not be overlooked.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this and to think of my friend Patrick.


Lots of love, forever and always.


It’s More Than Just The Race…

Lindsay Willard’s experience shows us all that the journey leading up to it is just as much a part of it.

Guest blog by Lindsay Willard

boston marathon blue ribbon 4.16.13Today I am writing my account of Monday, April 15th as a participant in an event that will forever be stamped on my timeline. This is my viewpoint as a runner, a team member, and a Massachusetts native. I am not special, but this day was special to me for so many reasons. Marathon Monday is as much of a holiday to me as Patriots Day represents. It is a day to be honored that celebrates heroism, sacrifice, and a battle of emotional and physical hardships. The Boston Marathon is the ultimate goal after more than 16 weeks of grueling miles, early rises, weight room sessions, speed intervals, hill repeats, frozen fingers and toes, physical therapy appointments, carbo-loading, and hydrating… all in hopes of seeing that beautiful finishing time on the clock by the grandstand on Boylston Street.

My training cycle was marred with many setbacks, several injuries, and several instances of possibly giving up before the actual starting line. I have battled IT Band strains, Plica Band Syndrome and Bursitis on the knee, Piriformis Syndrome and Sciatica too… and finally the decision to get minor surgery this April. So many things get in the way of a runner making it to the starting line healthy, and I honestly can’t think of a Marathon where I was at 100% - but can anyone else? I worked with a chiropractor, a massage therapist, and an orthopedist to get me to Hopkinton on Monday. I knew it was going to hurt a lot more than just because we were about to run 26.2 miles, and faster than we had ever done on even the most intense training runs. But my biggest fear was being left out of it all.

There was so much to look forward to if I could possibly rally and have a good day on that knee. I would cry so much more over missing the experience to try, than over the pain itself. I would have all of this to look forward to:

Get dropped off in Copley at 6:45am, find my seat on the team bus, sit with friends and nervously go over strategies, eat weird mealy protein filled sports bars, listen to pump-up songs in my iPod in the highschool gymnasium, tie team colored ribbons in my pony tail, make 6 trips to the VIP porta-potties, pack 3 GU gels into my sports bra, rub Body Glide all over my inner legs and arms, tie and re-tie my racing shoes 4 times, take that long walk to the starting corral, size up the competition in the pack around me, waddle towards the sounds of the announcers, start my watch as I look down at the blue paint in the masses of the town square, calm myself down over the downhill first mile, complain about my knee for the first 5K, check my form in the store windows in Framingham, ditch my gloves to a cheering friend, accidentally pour Gatorade down my back instead of water, give high-fives to all the girls outside Wellesley College, say screw it to pacing for a few miles - this knee seems ready to go now, wave and blow a kiss to my parents at mile 14, wave to my friend Jen as we cross I-95, smile at my co–workers by Newton Wellesley Hospital, start having the dry heaves at the Newton Fire Station, cramp up and start crying over stomach issues in the second hill, tell my buddy Jason to leave me behind, contemplate walking up Heartbreak to make the stomach stop turning over, wonder what the hell I ate, try to rally as I turn at Cleveland Circle, grab my sides to work out the cramps through Fenway, smell the sidewalk BBQs of BU students, realize that my quads are shutting down from those early downhill miles, debate whether to put any more water on this fire in my belly, cry again as I see my goal time slipping away on my Garmin, hear the roar and the cowbells of the crowds as I turn onto Hereford, stop staring down and look at the balloons that seem so far away on Boylston, feel like I am running vertical – desperately trying to beat the 2:50, reach for it, reach for it, suck it up and raise my arms high for a good picture under the clock, come to a complete stop on the blue mats as the knees buckle, get wheeled into the Medical, and finally… get that tin foil blanket and finisher’s medal wrapped around me.

That was my adventure, or so I thought. That was my Boston Marathon 2013. That is something that can never be taken away from me. What ensued in the hours following my finish were tragic and devastating. The innocence of a city has been lost. Lives were taken. Men, women and children were gravely injured. Fear was brought to the masses, and thousands experienced tears of terror instead of tears of joy and accomplishment.

I was lucky to have finished, to have my health, and to have my family and friends safe. I was fortunate enough to be a safe distance away when the explosions went off. I was in the company of my parents in the Prudential when firing went off… the building shook, alarms went off, stampedes broke out, and we were put into lock-down for several hours. The scare we faced inside the shopping plaza was nothing in comparison to what was happening out on the streets. What I saw out the windows was unreal. I don’t understand it. I can hardly believe it. It makes me sad. It makes me terribly angry. But thankfully – it does not deter me in the least of wanting to be here again next Marathon Monday. I don’t want to keep re-living it, but I will never forget it. And I am so proud of the signs I see everywhere “Boston Strong”.

I saw Paul Hammond (aka Goose) at the expo on Sunday and he expressed concern over the status of Lindsay’s knee. We should probably stop worrying about that since she appears to be some type of running cyborg. You don’t win the USATF-NE Grand Prix series and Runner of the Year awards by being soft. A big part of the allure of the marathon is the journey, the peaks and valleys one goes through on their way to the starting line. Lindsay fought her way through the peaks and valleys and then through a physical ordeal during the race. For that, we tip our collective cap to her.

Marathon runners are a tough bunch. They are people that choose to deal with pain and adversity on a regular basis and come out the other side stronger. And so we will here, together. We are including the link below on all posts for the foreseeable future for anyone who wishes to give.

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Let’s Do This The Right Way

Guest blog by Michael Robertson

boston marathon blue ribbon png 4.16.13It has been truly remarkable seeing the reactions of Bostonians, and non-Bostonians, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The stories of people helping people under the worst of circumstances are countless and inspiring. Everyone is looking for a way to honor those in the bombing and, in many respects, the day itself, but we have got to do it in the right way.

In the rush to put together commemorative events, including running/walking the last 5 miles of the course (which I understand has now been postponed), rerunning the entire Boston Marathon course, and walking in the last mile, I strongly feel that the best of intentions and noblest of thoughts have obscured careful consideration of the reality of the situation we are faced with. As I understand it, the Boston Police Department has asked that these events not take place right now. They are not city-sanctioned and do not have the proper permits. This would be a concern for events of the planned magnitude at any time and it is especially worrying at this time. The investigations are obviously still continuing, there are police officers and soldiers with machine guns lining our streets and guarding our hotels. Let’s not take their focus away from their all-important task by crowding the streets with thousands, or even dozens of people, however well-intentioned they may be.

I’m not saying don’t go out and run/walk. I’m not even saying don’t run as a group. What I am saying is please reconsider any sort of mass activity along the marathon course and certainly in the vicinity of Copley Square. I am 100% certain there will be an event in the near future that has the support of the BPD and the City. Be patient, keep your spirits up and keep supporting each other.  The time will come for us all to band together and show our support for the fallen, the wounded, and the thousands who could not cross the finish line on Patriot’s Day.  Let’s just make sure that, when that time comes, we do so the right way.


Editor’s Note: The outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragic event is incredible. So many people are mobilizing to show support in a variety of ways and it’s very uplifting to witness it all. As well intentioned as these gatherings on the marathon course are, it’s still just too soon.

We all want swift justice here and the best way to do that is to give the hardworking law enforcement officials their space. Bringing a mass of people into Boston this weekend will be doing just the opposite of that and will most likely further stress an already over-stressed group of people.

The closer one gets to the epicenter of it all, the more caution and consideration that’s needed. There are plenty of other ways to show your support and I hope people will consider those other options, at least until some normalcy returns to Boston.

You can do something as simple as wearing marathon gear, there will be various fundraisers held all over, you can donate online, City Sports is organizing runs, even UMass football has gotten involved and invited runners to finish on their field during a special ceremony.

There’s also going to be a big fundraising running event hosted by the Western Mass Distance Project at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA this Sunday. Details for that will be passed along as they continue to develop, both here and on their own website.

There seems to be some sentiment out there that runs along the Boston course need to happen now to show that the marathon is not dead. I have a problem with that line of thinking. First of all, the marathon can’t be killed. Second of all, people are more motivated for it now than ever, which means it’s more alive than ever. The marathon is a special distance that requires a lot of respect, so the best way to show that the marathon isn’t dead is to respect the race: put your nose to the grindstone and get out there and make Boston 2014 your mission. By steering clear of Boston (specifically Back Bay) we’d be showing law enforcement some respect, while also still paying tribute to those affected.

Thank you for being active and showing your support, but please be considerate of all the elements involved.

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Monday: Triumph Amidst the Tragedy

Guest blog by Rob Gomez

When Eric first asked me to write a guest blog for Level Renner, I balked. My account of the events that unfolded on Monday, April 15th, 2013 seemed very insignificant. The tragedy that occurred on Boylston St has been recounted so thoroughly and from so many different viewpoints, and the impact that this tragedy will have on the Boston Marathon has been prognosticated very eloquently by hundreds of writers and bloggers.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that every person involved in Monday’s events should share their story in order to help our tightly-knit running community understand, heal and grow together. And of course, no story of Monday’s events is complete without including the backdrop of the marathon itself – that’s what we all came together to celebrate in the first place, and that’s what will continue to bring us together in the future. My story is no more important than anyone else’s, but sharing it will help me understand, heal and grow.

I can best recount my day on Monday as a series of sharp moments protruding abruptly from a cloudy lake of emotions. Here’s a timeline of those moments.

Rob, before horrifying the co-ed (bandana still on his head). Courtesy of Scott Mason.

Rob, before horrifying the co-ed (bandana still on his head). Courtesy of Scott Mason.

3:55 AM: I’m up and I’m not going back to sleep. The gears are turning in my head.

5:25 AM: Choking down the last eight ounces of beet juice. I’ve been pounding this stuff for two weeks straight with the promise that the influx of nitrates will improve my efficiency in oxygen consumption. It’s almost not worth it.

7:05 AM: Kirby has to pull over on I-90 because I have to piss so badly. Good to know that my body is ramping into race mode.

7:45 AM: Grabbing some duct tape for my torn gear bag from a very nice couple in Hopkinton that’s just handing out free stuff to anyone who needs it. Their daughters are doing cartwheels and playing catch in between handing out band-aids. Maybe this was a bit of foreshadowing for the kind of goodwill that so many people showed later in the day.

8:35 AM: Sitting on my throne of cardboard next to Lauren in the Athlete’s Village, propped up against a tent pole, listening to “Recover” by CHRVCHES. Jeff loves this song. I’m reminded of how he got me back into running. I’m out here for him today.

9:55 AM: The guy next to me wonders why his 2:22 at St. George didn’t get him into the Elite corral. I keep my mouth shut.

10:15 AM: So I’m still only a few steps off the lead pack and we’re almost three miles in. Yeah, this isn’t aggressive at all.

10:35 AM: I need to slow down.

10:40 AM: Screw it, I’m not slowing down.

10:55 AM: I’m running through the center of Natick, spectators three deep it seems, and there’s absolutely no one around me. Naturally, I throw my hands up to get a better reception. I’m a sucker for a big crowd.

11:10 AM: I throw my American flag bandana at an unsuspecting Wellesley co-ed. Her expression is of pure disgust.

11:25 AM: Vassallo looks as giddy as a schoolgirl as he jogs with me for a few paces and offers me Gu (which I should have taken). I’m out here for him today, too.

11:35 AM: Just stay relaxed on the hills. Stay RELAXED. A few more miles and you can cruise the rest of the way.

11:45 AM: And there go the wheels. I do not want to take another step. Wow that happened quickly.

12:05 PM: I want to be done with this sh*t.

12:20 PM: I’m looking for my parents and I can’t see them.

12:22 PM: Holy crap, I might not even PR.

12:25 PM: Denise Robson finishes just ahead of me. She turns around, gives me a big hug, and we stumble forward together for a minute. I promise to see her at Cabot in just over a month.

12:40 PM: It feels like I’m walking on stilts. My parents are trying to get from Boylston to Stuart to meet me without the help of a smartphone. A random group of Latino adolescents want their picture with me.

1:45 PM: I give my dad a hug before he leaves, a good hug. We never really hug anymore, just bro-hugs and good-natured razzing.

2:30 PM: I decide to depart the Marriott for the Cheesecake Factory with everyone else in the room instead of sticking to my original plan of meeting Mary and Co. at the Cactus Club. I feel bad about it but text Mary to tell her I’ll make it down there shortly.

3:00 PM: While waiting for a seat at Cheesecake I notice people flooding, running, sprinting down the Prudential Plaza escalators and stairs to the exits. Looks like a good idea to follow suit.

3:05 PM: People everywhere. Emergency vehicles are flying into the square. No one really knows what the hell is going on. Everyone is wearing confused and anxious expressions. Steve says he heard two sounds in succession that sounded like a tailgate slamming down. I see one woman on the phone, bawling. We walk away from the square with no destination in mind.

3:10 PM: I call my mom. She and my dad are already on a bus headed back to Portland. I tell her I have no idea what has happened but that they’ll probably hear about it and that I’m fine.

3:15 PM: Finally getting word through Twitter. BREAKING: Explosion near the finish line. And Jon and I were headed back towards the Cactus Club.

3:25 PM: My phone is constantly vibrating now. It seems like the most logical thing to do is to head back to the hotel.

3:30 PM: I pass a couple of white guys verbally assaulting a person that appears to be of Middle Eastern descent. Can’t believe this is happening already.

4:00 PM: The NBC Boston channel keeps showing the blast video over and over. I can’t get through to anyone.

4:30 PM: Mary’s at MIT. Sheri is under lockdown in the Fairmont with Al and her kids. I’m so thankful that Juliette isn’t here in the middle of all this with me. Lauren tells me via text to meet her at her sister’s place on O Street and we can catch a ride home from there.

4:45 PM: There’s a drunk guy giving some firefighters crap for not letting him through the barricade in front of the Marriott.

5:15 PM: Walking next to a young couple pushing their 3-month-old back to their car in South Boston. They offer to give myself and Jon a ride the rest of the way to O Street. This kindness is so encouraging on a day like this. Gives me hope.

5:55 PM: Juliette calls me and her voice shakes as she tells me she’s watching the news about the “Boston Bomb”. I finally cry.

7:30 PM: On the way home with Lauren and her parents. Lauren looks a little washed out from the events of the day but sitting next to her brings a sense of calm to me. An ambulance merges onto I-93 right next to us, sirens on. I’m so numb to sirens at this point that I make no effort to turn my neck to look at it.

11:15 PM: Slouched over motionless on the couch at home, phone put away, the bulb over the stove the only source of light. I can hear the peepers from the pond across the street making a racket. Sweetest racket I’ve heard all day. I resolve then and there to run Boston in 2014.

The night before the race, Rob and Seth Hasty invited me to come by their room to hang out for a little bit. It was good to see them and talk shop a bit the night before the big race. Rob told me about his beet juice regiment and even gave me a “shot” of it. It reminded me of being a college freshman all over again, with the “wise” senior giving me a shot of Jack. I just barely choked it down and the aftertaste was brutally indescribable. Kudos to Rob for going the extra effort to squeeze the most out of his race.

I could be wrong here, but Rob scored himself a nine second PR by running a 2:22:53 on Monday. Rob may be too humble to divulge that on his own, but one of the reasons why I wanted Rob’s account here was because I know he ran very well. It might not have been good enough to make all that beet juice worth it, but a PR is a PR. Like Rob said, “every person involved in Monday’s events should share their story”, and in his own unique experience you can see the ugliness (racial profiling) and the beauty (strangers lending a helping hand) that was present in the aftermath. The tragedy seems to be dominating the headlines but we need to find the triumphant stories within and tell the stories of the successful races as well.

Thanks once again to Scott Mason for the photo. More Boston Marathon photos can be found on his website.

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Shocked, Angered, Sad

Guest blog by Tom Derderian, president USATF-NE

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 11.32.06 AMLike nearly everyone touched by the bombings at the finish of the Boston Marathon we are shocked, angered, and sad. We are shocked because we are the governing body of sport, recreation, and essentially, play. People compete in the marathon and follow the race as something aside from the horrors of the world, but are now part of those enormities. We are angry because people have been hurt and murdered for reasons that cannot possibly justify the crimes, and we are sad because of the pain and loss in our community. Most officers and employees of USATF-NE were at the marathon. Some worked as volunteers at the finish line so were quite close to the explosions. Others were racing or watching. We are relieved that none were hurt. At USATF we have held safety in the utmost importance in conducting events when we issue sanctions. As we wish the best recovery to those injured and their families we will spend the coming months thinking hard about how to make our sports the safe and joyous events they are intended to be.

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