Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy

I'm sitting here this morning, reading some of the follow-up stories and viewing the photographs that have been posted by the news media, and the tears start anew with each horrifying glimpse of what went terribly wrong at yesterday's Boston Marathon.

Yesterday morning I woke up excited, eager to log into the live streaming coverage of the race at the BAA website.  I love watching this race...I watched the live coverage for years while I lived in Massachusetts.  Then I watched it whenever I could find coverage, now that I live in Texas.  For the last few years I've watched it through Universal Sports live streaming coverage but now that they've gone exclusive with Dish Satellite, I had to look elsewhere.  Fortunately BAA offers live streaming coverage at their website. 

I got nothing else done for the next two hours.  The route covers ground and passes through towns that I know well.  Watching the live coverage, seeing the glimpses of the towns as the runners passed through, and then seeing the Boylston Street finish line, so close to Copley Square, brought back memories. 

A few years ago I accompanied my former running coach to Boston when he ran the Boston Marathon for the first time.  I took full advantage of my knowledge of Boston, of surrounding towns, and of the MBTA system promising him I'd take care of him, get him to the start line and get him back to the hotel after the race was over.  For convenience, I chose a hotel on 128 just an exit or two away from the Riverside station terminus of the MBTA.

Race day morning I drove him to one of the shuttle bus pick-up locations on the outskirts of Hopkinton.  Then I drove to Natick to my ex-husband's house, where I parked my car and visited for a bit before walking the two blocks to the marathon route.  I knew my running friend's pace and estimated when he would pass by that location, which is at about mile 9.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes later, he ran by.  Despite my yelling his name, he did not see me.  Darn!  I jumped in my car and headed for the Green Line terminus, the Riverside Station, off of 128 near the Mass Pike interchange.  As I drove up 128, I could see the long ribbon of runners as they ran across the Washington Street overpass.   I parked my car at Riverside and jumped on a train, and then got off at the very next station, Woodland.  I walked the short distance to Washington Street and didn't have long to wait before my running coach and a giant throng of other runners passed by.

I got back on the Green Line T and then considered whether I had enough time to get off at the Reservoir station to catch him again.  I wasn't sure, because I had to wait for a bit to catch the next train out of Woodland.  I decided it was safer to just continue on in to the city and then find a good spectator spot along the last mile or so of the course, near where it makes its last turn onto Boylston Street.  I could see the runners approach and then make the turn, which gave me more time to scan the packs of runners for my friend.  

He ran by, I worked my way to the finish line, and found the gear check retrieval area, our pre-appointed meet-up location.  He was toast!  It was an unusually warm year and he suffered for it, his time more than an hour off his usual finish time for a marathon.  I got him to the T-station, got him onto a train (after kicking some teens out of their seats to let the "old man runner" sit) and we rode back to Riverside where my car was parked. 

But getting back to this year's race....I watched the male and female winners and runners-up cross the finish line, I watched the finish ceremonies for the winners, I watched the last little bit of live coverage, showing the runners and then the show was over.  I moved on to other things:  Getting dressed, getting some housework done, doing a little bit of yardwork, and starting the process of packing for my upcoming trip to the Carmel Marathon in Indiana.

I was just walking through the kitchen when my phone rang.  It was my friend Steve.  But his cell signal kept breaking up and I could only hear a word here and there, couldn't make out what he was saying.  I hung up and soon I heard the characteristic "ding" from my computer, telling me I had a message on Facebook.  It was Steve, telling me that there'd been the bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line.  I immediately turned on my TV and there it was in all its realism.   I was glued to the TV for the next few hours.

The images were horrifying.  Blood everywhere, panic and chaos.  And then quickly there was order from that chaos as support staff, volunteers, medical staff, police, even some runners sprang into action.  Video footage from the cameras that were there to cover the race was played and replayed.  News of the injuries and deaths began to make its way to the airwaves.   I was teary-eyed with shock and disbelief. 

It sickens me to think that the perpetrator(s) of this act of terrorism is sitting somewhere watching this coverage and probably gloating, feeling smug, maybe feeling proud of himself.  I only hope that his ego gets the better of him and he brags about it; and I hope that whoever hears it has the good sense to turn him in to police.


  1. I am so glad to see you posting. I do not know many people involved in marathon running other than you. When I saw your posts, saw some times that you on the right side of your blog, I knew you were not in Boston and OK.

    Such a tragic event. It is unthinkable that it happened so close to where I live. It is an outrage that someone would even do this. For what reason, there can be no reason that is acceptable or even conceivable

    I am so glad you are OK and in Texas, well at least not here.


  2. I too was stunned when I heard it. I saw it on facebook then our office turned on the TV in the conference room to watch the coverage.

    just so sad and so senseless.

    Not only is the senseless act sad and the harm to the people and their families, but I fear people will automatically stereotype muslims and blame them as they are typically vilified as terrorists, whereas my gut tells me it is probably far from it this time.