I ran the Boston Marathon this year to honor my friend who passed away the week before from cancer. I ran that day with her and have never felt such emotion when I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t wait to see my family; they sat in front of the Forum waiting to watch me finish. We agreed to meet at Dartmouth and Boylston. As I walked to meet them, I felt such joy knowing that I ran with my sweet friend and that we did it together. All of the emotion from what that meant hit me. It was the first time in a long time that I really felt her with me. I looked up, saw my family walking towards me, and the first bomb went off. I was terrified. It was so loud. There was a huge plume of smoke and people were so confused. I was on the other side of the barrier. My dad rushed and pulled me over. Looking at him I knew something was very wrong. Then the second bomb hit, and in my exhaustion from running, I finally understood what that meant and began to see what was happening around me. I will never forget the sounds, and the sights from that day. Ever. As we tried to figure out where to go, I kept thinking there were more and it was terrifying. I struggle to this day with what happened and feel like such a special moment was stolen from me. After everything settled, I realized I qualified. Not by much, but I did, and I couldn’t wait to run in 2014. When I found out I got cut by 21 seconds, I was crushed. So I’m telling my story in the hopes that I can run again, as it would mean the world to me.
Michelle McInerney was selected to receive a special Marathon bib from the Boston Athletic Association after writing this essay.