Tuesday, 5/21/13, was the date my friend Laura and I selected to finish the last six-tenths of a mile, the last approximately six minutes I didn’t get to cover at the 2013 Boston Marathon. We drove to Boston and parked on Hereford and ran down Commonwealth a bit to find where I had been stopped. I was unprepared for how immediately I could pick the exact spot and a flood of memories washed over me; the area residents trying to help, neither having a cell phone nor cell phone coverage anyway to see if my sister and niece at the finish line were OK, my running friend sitting on the curb in shorts and a singlet, shivering, people crying in fear and general confusion not knowing what to do or where to go, being cold, tired, hungry, and in shock over what had just happened.
I started snapping pictures lest I ever forget. Then we resumed our trek, backtracking now on Comm. Ave. and taking the famed “Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston” to finish the route. It felt so different not to be running in the road and instead navigating the people-filled sidewalks. We ran past the finish line without knowing – too much traffic to see the painted stripe.
A few blocks after we passed the memorial, we realized we had already run past our target, turned back and found the finish line. Out came the cameras, the requisite finish line photos were snapped, Laura put my finishers’ medal around my neck and we shared a hug and both burst into tears. We continued sobbing, emotion-wracked, and proceeded to the memorial where we spent time looking at all the beautiful messages and gut-wrenching contributions. Running the Boston 2013 marathon now has closure for me. I’ll run Boston 2014 with pride; but not with innocence.
It’ll never be the same.
Linda A. Desjardins