Boston Marathon – 15 April 2013

posted on April 17, 2013in the Blog Category

Boston Marathon – 15 April 2013

Two sides to my Boston experience firstly about the tragedy and then about the race.

April 16, Boston is a little eerie today, main tourist spots very quiet, armed guards and police on most street corners, armed US Coast Guards on the ferries. Now confirmed 3 dead incl an 8 year old, 17 critically injured and 170+ injured. My main lasting memories of the tragedy will be the same as yours, gleaned from the tv shots, but the most amazing for me was the sight of the yellow jacketed race volunteers running straight into the bomb blast area to rescue people and runners going straight from the race to donate blood. Both truly amazing feats, one of absolute bravery and courage and one of a runners personal desire to help others.

The really sad thing is how many youngsters have been affected by this, most of the runners were at the younger end of the spectrum with their friends and families supporting them. It could have been so much worse though! If the bombs had been put in the family reunion area it would have killed hundreds. Boston is a city that is currently suffering but its amazing marathon will recover from this and come out even stronger on the other side.

All I can currently feel is huge sorrow and sympathy for my fellow runners so badly affected by this and pray we never see anything like it ever again. We can’t let the terrorists win this and we all need to carry on doing exactly what we did before. Good luck to all at London and stay safe!

This photo was taken approx. 400 yards from the bomb blast in the family reunion area. It was for me the culmination of what was, before the bomb news reached us, an amazing day. I knew that Boston marathon held iconic status and I now know why. It was incredibly well organised and superbly supported, the volunteers were absolutely incredible as were the huge crowds in all the towns along the course. The day started with a 1 hour bus journey to Hopkinton and the athletes village. I was in wave 2 of the starters and off at 10.20. The course drops 1600 feet but rises 1000, it was never flat at any time! The first 10k was quite downhill so I pushed quite hard for a 47 minute 10k and hit half way in 1.40.

Just before half way I experienced the loudest noise ever on a race, the Wellesley girls college scream tunnel and their wonderful signs like “kiss me I love beards”.

Mile 16 saw the first of the famous Newton hill climbs culminating in Heartbreak Hill at 20.5 miles and it is aptly named! All downhill from there but by this time the quads were screaming from all the downs and the calfs and hamstrings screaming from the ups. I managed to push on to the finish which is famously described as right onto Hereford, left onto Boylston and you can see the finish arch as you turn onto Boylston but it never seemed to get closer! I realised that I needed to sprint to beat 3.25 and managed it by 1 second to record my 2nd fastest ever marathon on a course that can only be described as tough.

My starting number, based on qualifying times was 12767 and I finished 7103 so picked off 5000 faster runners. 190th in age group out of way over 1000 and 4th Brit in age group. Amazed by the number of really quick female runners, over 1900 ahead of me and some very pretty bottoms to follow! All in all a fabulous day until the tragedy which will never be forgotten!

Like many of the runners I ran the marathon not only as a challenge to myself but also to raise funds for an amazing charity. The Childrens Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) is our chosen charity and I thank everyone who kindly donated and helped spur me on, your kind donations have helped raise over £2,500.

If you haven’t donated and would like to support CAFT please visit my Just Giving page

Tony Collier - Managing Director

Written By: MBL

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