I wrote five.
UPDATE: The Boston Athletic Association, organizer of the Boston Marathon®, will issue a limited number of invitational entries for the 2014 Boston Marathon for those who were most impacted by the events of April 15, 2013. Those who have a special connection to the events of April 15 and who wanted to be considered for an invitational entry were able to submit an online request to the B.A.A. Notice of the process was publicized, and submissions were collected entirely online at http://www.baa.org. Submissions were accepted between Monday, November 18, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET and Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Notifications and decisions will be issued in December as requests are currently being reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the B.A.A. Decisions will be made in the sole discretion of the B.A.A.
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), organizer of the Boston Marathon®, will issue a limited number of invitational entries for the 2014 Boston Marathon for those who were most impacted by the events of April 15, 2013.
Those who have a special connection to the events of April 15 and who would like to be considered for an invitational entry, may submit a request to the B.A.A. Submissions will be collected entirely online at www.baa.org and must be typed in 250 words or less. The B.A.A. will not accept photos, videos, or other non-written material. Requests will be reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the B.A.A. and decisions will be made in the sole discretion of the B.A.A.
Submissions will be accepted between Monday, November 18, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET and Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Notifications and decisions will be issued on December 4.
The 118th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014.
CRITERIA FOR SUBMISSION: Those who submit a request must meet the following selection criteria:
- Personally and profoundly impacted by the events of April 15, 2013;
- On-line submission of entry as discussed above.
- Able to complete a 26.2 mile marathon within 6 hours and 30 minutes, as evidenced by some demonstration of athletic achievement, if requested by the B.A.A.;
- 18 years of age by Monday, April 21, 2014.
The selection of applicants to receive these entries rests exclusively with the Boston Athletic Association. Decisions of the B.A.A. in this selection process will be final.
RULES FOR ENTRY: Those who are accepted into the 2014 Boston Marathon must abide by the following selection criteria:
- This invitational entry is valid only for the 2014 Boston Marathon;
- The invitational entry must be used by the individual who submits the request, and entry may not be transferred to another person, another year, or another B.A.A. event; and
- The invitational entry fee of $325 USD is required.
Please note that neither a Boston Marathon qualifying performance nor fundraising will be required for these invitational entries.
The B.A.A., in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the route, has increased the field size for the 2014 Boston Marathon, and the B.A.A. previously announced on Thursday, August 29 that the field size for the 2014 Boston Marathon has been set at 36,000 official entrants, including the invitational entries selected by the B.A.A. through the submissions solicited by this announcement. Registration for qualified runners closed on Friday, September 20, 2013.
“The B.A.A. has created an opportunity and a process for those who were most affected by the events of last April to submit a request for entry into the 2014 Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Now, we are making additional entries available by request to those who were personally and profoundly impacted, and this is in addition to an allocation which we have made to The One Fund community, first responders and Boston-area hospitals which were involved.”
Among the field size limits that the B.A.A. employs for the safety of all, certain field size limitations apply to athletes competing with disabilities. As a result, if you are an athlete who would compete with a disability–which includes athletes in push rim or hand crank chairs, athletes whose mobility is impaired in walking or running, athletes pushing another person in a wheelchair, and others– we ask you to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of submitting your request so that we may determine the extent to which space remains available. This is, as noted above, a rule designed to help assure the safety of all of the tens of thousands of athletes in the field.
I like to think that I live my life in a way that allows me to have no regrets.
I tell my family I love them every time we talk.
I speak up when I witness injustice.
I left an abusive man because I knew my future children deserve better. A few months later I realized I deserve better.
I fell in love with running when I was 15. I started dreaming of Boston when I was 16. I qualified for the year it fell on my 29th birthday, 2012. I finally experienced the magic of Boston.
This year, it was the day before my birthday. Boston was worth bending the birthday run rule to run one day early.
I ran 2 minutes 24 seconds short of requalifying, but after a year of hospitals and doctors, I was glad to run a smart race.
We could see the entrance to our hotel, the Lenox, when we heard the first one. Then, again.
I didn’t think “bombs”.
I heard the children crying. I wanted to say to them “Yes, loud noises can be scary, but look, you’re safe!” Then I saw him, crossing the street in front of us, the right side of his face covered in blood and shock. They told us to get indoors. NOW.
Confusion. Hearsay. Intermittent cell service.
My parents were okay, stopped on their way to see me finish by my aunt calling them to congratulate my time.
I did not see the full extent of the horror until later. Then I understood the children’s cries.
I will always regret not going back to the finish line.
I started the tradition of my birthday run during my senior year in college. 22 years, 22 miles.
By then I had dreamt o Boston for 7 years.
I qualified 5 years later, three months too late, but lucky for me, the Gansett marathon was on my birthday that year. I just needed a 2 mile wam up.
Because of the Leap Year, 2012′s Boston fell on my birthday. 3 mile warm up.
2013… After a year of doctors and hospitals, I felt prepared to really celebrate living, even if one day shy of my 30th birthday.
I found the penny, shining heads up, on the sidewalk while catching my ride to the start. Double lucky! This year is looking up!
Walking back to the Lenox, the entrance in our sight, we heard it. Then we heard it again.
Lucky penny, YOU HAD ONE JOB.
Mom told me she and Dad miscalculated my finish time. They were heading to the finish line when my aunt called, congratulating my finish time.
Lucky penny… Thank you.
I fell in love with running at 15.
I started dreaming of Boston when I was 16.
I qualified when I was 27.
A little over a year after my first qualifier, I started to get sick.
The stomach pains were unbearable. I got down to 100 pounds. I’m 5 foot 7. The CT scans revealed extreme inflammation in my esophagus, stomach, and colon. But the colonoscopy revealed no cause. I started to feel like my body was the enemy.
I started to get better. I had not had the stomach pains for nearly a year. I was so grateful for the amazing capacity of the human body to heal. I was going to celebrate my 30th birthday, my LIFE, a day early at the Boston Marathon!
I ran 16 minutes slower than my PR and missed requalifying by 2 minutes and 24 seconds. But I was ecstatic; I could still run, and run decently fast! I could see the comeback!
Then I heard them. We had finished an hour prior, and were almost back to our hotel, the Lenox, when we heard them. The bombs. Then the cries.
I still have my legs. I still have my parents. But since then, I have not had the same desire. The same hunger for competition. The same satisfaction.
Running is my core, my kinesthetic meditation, my freedom.
I want to unleash that desire again.
I can’t say that I am 100 positive that going back to that hallowed place will do that, but I definitely hope it does.
My competitive fire may be smoldering embers right now, I just need to find that final piece to fan them into flames.
Hope? Yeah, I still have that.
I can still run. I have my legs, my arms, my parents. The Lenox blocked my view of the horror. I just heard the children crying. I initially thought it was a car backfiring, the idea of bombs at the Boston Marathon was so ridiculous it didn’t even cross my mind. I wanted to find some of these children to hug them, to tell them “It’s okay, loud noises are scary, but you’re safe!” My heart aches now that I know those words weren’t completely true in that moment. Now that I know they saw things that no person, no child, no adult, should ever see.
I still run. Running is a part of my core, it is my kinesthetic meditation, it is my freedom.
But now… It’s different. My boyfriend ran his first marathon on Saturday. I ran the half and then ran the last half mile with him. He was very clear, very set with his goals. Yet every time he asked mine, I was vague. “I just want to run a smart race.” “I want to see where I’m at.” In my heart, and according to my track workouts, I could run a good time and possibly PR if things fell into place. But… I didn’t want to disappoint myself if I did not run as well. I tell this man everything in my soul, but I couldn’t tell him this. That this resilient, strong woman, was allowing fear to supercede desire.
I was writing another piece reflecting on the regret I have not running back to the finish when I head them. I will regret that forever.
But those brothers tried to rob me of my hunger. My desire. My competitive fire, an essential component in every runner’s heart. The inner fortitude that helped me overcome a year of hospitals and doctors and mysterious stomach pains to run Boston the day before my 30th birthday.
I need the winds in Hopkinton’s roads, the waving posters of the Wellesley girls, my fellow runners’ labored breaths as we overcome the Newton hills, the shouts of the spectator as we turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston. Those are what I need to fan those weakened flames and bring back my fire.
And the winner:
I’m not going to pretend that nothing was lost that day.
The bombs left physical scars, they left invisible psychological wounds.
I thought I had lost my competitive fire, my way of life for the last 16 years, more than half of my life.
I didn’t think I wanted to come back to the place where it was lost. Despite the many redemption stories, both acquired and desired, that culminate on Boylston Street, I did not feel that need. Rather, I reflected.
I wrote other reflections on that day, shouting into the voids in my heart and waiting for the echoes.
Finally I realized, in that beautiful, strange, indirect, unexpected way that defines so much of life:
The events of that day, the bombs sprung forth from a vat of unfathomable hate…. They brought me to love.
I had nearly given up on finding that when-you-know-you-just-know mind bending and heart melding love.
I accepted that I could either settle or live a vagabond’s life.
A month after Boston, the running club in Guam held a “Run for Boston” 5k. My body and my heart were still exhausted, but I knew I needed to go.
So begins what my love and I call “The Story of Us”.
I have never met anyone before whose soul is so similar and whose heart is so complimentary to my own.
The bombs attempted to plunge us into the darkness of humanity. I have found that the journey back has uncovered love instead.
I submitted this on November 27th, just a few hours after John broke up with me.