There are a million words to describe how the Marathon affected and changed me. As I saw the “Entering Boston” sign in Brookline that day — seven years after moving to Boston, taking up running to get healthy — I said to myself for the first time “Boston, you’re my home.” An hour later — dehydrated and defeated — in a finish line medical tent, I heard the explosions. Then announcements: “Explosions at the finish line. Casualties. Dismemberments. Prepare yourself to treat the victims.” Phoneless and with all my loved ones either running behind me or at the finish line, the hour until we were reunited was excruciating. The anger, guilt, and heartbreak I still feel today will never go away. But running the 2014 Boston Marathon will help me heal my mind. My loved ones weren’t harmed, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of those who were. I told myself that day that I was done running Boston. It was too hard. I’ll find easier, less brutal marathons. But the resolve and strength of the victims not only inspired me to run a marathon this fall, but it motivated me join the fund-raising team for the Challenged Athlete Foundation, which has started working with Marathon bombing victims in their recoveries. I’ll push myself in August in the NYC Triathlon and hope — before that — to finish the 2014 Boston Marathon in honor of those who won’t ever give up, who I won’t ever forget. Thank you for considering my request.
Kate Plourd was selected to receive a special Marathon bib from the Boston Athletic Association after writing this essay.