I remember when I qualified for the Boston marathon in the fall of 2004 and ran it 7 years ago, in 2006. I could not have been more proud of the work I put in to qualify and then run the race. This is a place that most distance runners dream of participating. For me, it was a magical experience. I felt like a celebrity or professional athlete. The organizers shuttle the runners in buses with police escorts to the start of the race and I remember when I finished and put on my finisher's medal, I was bursting with excitement. I had done it! When I entered a restaurant shortly after with my medal around my neck, the host shouted that a finisher had entered and everyone in the restaurant stood up and applauded me. It was a moment I will never forget.
I am saddened that today will not be the same for so many of these elite athletes. Today, their long hours of training, both mentally and physically, and their accomplishment has been overtaken by this tragedy. It breaks my heart.
However, I was not surprised when I read that some finishers crossed the line and kept running to the Mass General hospital to donate blood. In the midst of tragedy, there is good.