Chocolate milk. That’s what Joey McIntyre was thinking about after he collected his medal for finishing the 2013 Boston Marathon with a time of 3 hours, 57 minutes, and 6 seconds.
Prepping for his first marathon with trainer Lizzy Brenkus, the New Kid on the Block learned that chocolate milk was actually a recommended recovery drink. He was surprised there wasn’t any at the finish line and jokingly complained. A good-natured BAA volunteer went to grab him some.
“And I was like ‘no, no, no,’ after I had complained,” he recalls with a laugh on the phone from his home in Los Angeles, where he has been training for this year’s race.
Exhausted and thrilled at the finish, McIntyre also reflected on running through areas he had never seen growing up in the city. He gave thanks to the New Kids fans who cheered him along the course — including one girl who didn’t see him but to whom he ran over and gave the surprise of her life — and made #RunJoeyRun a trending topic on Twitter during the race.
Mostly, he was thinking about his mother. McIntyre raised $40,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association in her name with his run, and as he looked up at the John Hancock building, sitting on a bench near the turtle sculptures, he thought about how she had gone to work in the famous glass tower after having nine children.
“She loved it there,” he said.
With the rush of emotions, he said, “There were so many points that can get you.”
Then, just as the BAA volunteer returned with the chocolate milk, “All hell broke loose.”
“Everybody was looking for their runner,” McIntyre recalled, his voice rising at the memory of the scene after the bombs went off. “I just remember this 8-year-old kid looking up at his mom saying, ‘Is daddy going to be OK?’ ”
After making sure his own father was fine — the elder McIntyre had been at the finish line when his son crossed 12 minutes earlier — a stunned McIntyre walked to his sister’s house in Mission Hill.
Very soon after that day, the Jamaica Plain native and his band mates shifted into action, helping to hatch the all-star “Boston Strong” concert at TD Garden in May that helped raise millions for the One Fund.
He pulled out his medal during the concert and spoke movingly about the day, in front of many of those who had been injured or were first responders to the attack.
“The Garden that night felt like somebody’s kitchen and you were going by their house to give people a hug and check in and make sure they were all right,” he said. “I still can’t imagine what these people are going through.
“It’s hard to say the right thing, but you just show up and hopefully we can make them smile and forget for a little while.”
McIntyre says he didn’t think twice about running this year, again to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. (Fellow New Kid Danny Wood is also running to raise money for breast cancer in honor of his mother.)
“It’s human to think at least for a moment, if not longer, about the worst-case scenario,” said McIntyre of potential problems this year. “But we’re not going to be denied and we’re going to have the finest people in Boston making sure this race goes off perfectly and we get to celebrate what this is again.
“I’m excited to do that. And I want to celebrate it for what it is, regardless of what happened. Of course you can never separate it, but it’s part of the process to enjoy the countryside and enjoy the party and to get back together and get back on the road again. I’m sure there’s going to be as many tears this year as there were last year.”
McIntyre is hoping to beat his time, and feels pretty good about it.
“The cool thing about marathons,” he said with a laugh, “is you only have to be one second faster to beat your time.”
Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman