As a lifelong resident of the South Shore of Boston, I have followed the running of Boston Athletic Association Marathon for more than 50 years.
During that time, I followed the likes of Johnny Kelley, Bill Rodgers, and Joan Benoit Samuelson. My heart was always with Dick Hoyt and his son , as they climbed Heartbreak Hill and eventually crossed the finish line on Boylston Street.
I always viewed the race in two ways. It was an inspiration not just to watch the very qualified who undertook the tremendous challenge, but perhaps more importantly, to cheer for all of the other runners who trained hard and, no matter how long it took, could always proclaim with great pride that they finished the Boston Marathon. With the marathon bombings two years ago, the complexion of the event changed in my mind forever.
With the loss of innocent life and the many victims who sustained lifelong injuries, I now reflect on the running of the Boston Marathon differently. I feel great appreciation and respect for the first responders, the many doctors and nurses at the Boston hospitals who have helped the injured to regain their lives. I admire the runners and spectators who refuse to let terrorism impact the marathon and their quality of life.
Like the thousands who ran last year’s race , this year’s participants have the courage to run, not so much for themselves, but for the bombing victims and spectators. They will shoulder this responsibility as they climb up Heartbreak Hill, which now has so much more meaning as we remember the lives of Martin Richards, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Sean Collier.
I will be part of a team of Webster bankers who will be in front of Webster’s 100 Franklin St. office in Boston starting at 4:30 a.m. April 20 to greet the runners and spectators as they walk to the Boston Common to take transportation to the start of the race in Hopkinton, Mass. We will greet the hundreds who walk by with T-shirts, water, bananas and, most importantly, with our sincerest thanks for being part of what makes Boston Strong.
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