The 119th Boston Marathon event, watched by many from around the world, occurred as scheduled despite the wet, chilly 43 degree temperature. This race has been a part of the nation’s history since 1897. There were over 30,000 participants and approximately one million spectators, who are demonstrating support to the commitment of healing, determination, and endurance.
The Boston marathon has several categories for diverse participation. The race began at about 8:50 am with the mobility-impaired leading the way. This next group included the wheelchair racers followed by the elite women, and last but not least, the elite men.
For those who participated or watched this event, it was a symbol of strength, unity, and freedom. For others, they needed a venue to demonstrate the spirit of patriotism and accomplishment. There are heroes and heroines from this year’s Boston Marathon with their own personal stories of courage and why they choose to be present at the Boston marathon.
One of the heroines, Rebekah Gregory, was one of the victims at the finish line in the 2013 marathon. From the events that occurred two years ago, she lost her left leg this past November. Her participation at the Boston marathon, running 3.5 miles, was a testament of her determination and resilience. Next year, she plans to run the full distance of the race, which is 26.2 miles.
Being at the Boston marathon, Gregory recalled what happened as she was lying in the street bleeding. She remembered thinking about her five year old son and whether or not she would see him again. Although the road to recovery was long and difficult, she feels blessed to have survived it all.
After the bombing, Gregory chronicled this journey on social media allowing the public to be aware of the numerous surgeries she had to endure. In 2013, she was present for the the tribute run, but she was in a wheelchair and unable to walk. One week prior to the amputation of her leg, she started her endurance and strength training five days a week for this year’s Boston marathon.
Gregory was so motivated at the marathon that a picture was taken of her dressed for the run on her prosthetic limb and attached was a special message on Facebook that stated, ” This is the day…I take my life back.” Holding the hand of her trainer, the crowd cheered and emotions were high as she crossed the finish line.
Michelle L’Heureux has never been in a marathon until this year. She was standing near one of the lamp posts watching the 2013 Boston marathon when the bomb went off. She, too, was injured and experienced several surgeries on her leg. This year’s Boston Marathon was a time of commitment for her to demonstrate to always get back up no matter the cause of being knocked down.
The Boston marathon has inspired people in different ways. During the 2013 Boston marathon, the bomb blast killed eight year old Martin Richard. As a symbolic gesture, Tatyanna McFadden, who was the wheelchair winner, presented her headdress to Martin Richard’s father.
There was a moment of silence at 2:49 pm, marking the time when the bombing at the Boston marathon occurred two years ago. Many treasured this opportunity to reunite at this event, to give back, and honor those who were injured or lost.
Written by Marie A. Wakefield