Boston marathoners vow to take back race
“Left on Boylston” in this American city means only one thing on marathon day.
It means you’re in the home stretch of the Boston Marathon, and all of the early morning runs in the dark New England winters, and all the wild cheering from family and friends, and all your memories about Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Uta Pippig, are about to carry you across the finish line.
“I can’t even imagine when I turn onto Boylston,” said Katie O’Donnell. “No doubt I will be crying. It’s going to be incredibly emotional.”
Last year, O’Donnell, 38, a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital, didn’t finish the race after completing more than 25 miles. There was no “left on Boylston” for O’Donnell and a throng of other marathoners.
Officials stopped the race after two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
“It was such a sucker punch,” O’Donnell said.
But on April 21, 36 000 runners, including O’Donnell, will be part of the second-largest field in the event’s history, with the goal of taking back a race that New Englanders hold sacred.
David Chorney, 26, a law student at Suffolk University in downtown Boston, grew up in New Hampshire, just north of Massachusetts and remembers watching the race in study hall at elementary school. He didn’t plan to run a marathon this year, but after the bomb attacks he accelerated his training so he could qualify.
Chorney secured his spot with a time of 2 hours, 33 minutes at the Lehigh Valley Marathon last September, a half-hour faster than the race’s strict standard for his age group. He expects to improve on his time at Boston, but a personal record isn’t his guiding thought.
“What happened last year was absolutely devastating,” Chorney said. “I’m looking forward to being part of the recovery and restoration of how we all traditionally think about the Boston Marathon.”
Along with tens of thousands of runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators, this year’s event will feature an enhanced police presence. Some 3 500 law enforcement officers, double last year’s numbers, will be posted along the 26.2 mile route and new restrictions will prohibit runners or spectators from carrying backpacks or other large parcels.
Fabio Fognini of Italy plays a backhand against James Ward of Great Britain during day one of the Davis Cup World Group Quarter Final match between Italy and Great Britain at Tennis Club Napoli yesterday.
Boston- Mrathon runners competing for places in one of the previous events.