By Alix Shutello
When I planned out the magazine’s editorial schedule for this year, this issue was slated to be about the Boston Marathon. The Marathon, you see, is a stepping stone for many who enter into the world of endurance running; it seemed appropriate to do an issue on “the” race that means so much to so many.
I’m a fan of the Marathon myself: my very first marathon was the Boston Marathon. I ran it in 4:30 back when I was 18. This year, I stood at the starting line as a spectator, excited to be taking photos of the competitors; but that day turned into a travesty. I still feel tremendous guilt that I was able to cross the finish line the day before at the B.A.A. 5K, which I ran with two very close friends of mine, and that we had such a wonderful experience on Sunday, only to have the lives of so many turned upside down on Marathon Monday.
For those who didn’t cross the finish line, there was a double sense of loss. I interviewed local Virginia runner, Ivette Booher, who was stopped just before the finish line. She didn’t know what was going on; and after time spent standing around, the athletes began to get cold. “I was one of the first people stopped at 25.78, and got cold quickly.
I also started cramping from the sudden stop and waited about 10 minutes all the while borrowing phones to try to reach my family, but I couldn’t reach them. I decided to start walking toward the finish line on a parallel road and was helped in finding the finish by a good samaritan, Jeff, from Homeland Security. He allowed me to use his phone and I was finally able to reach my husband. After that, he led me to the buses where the gear was checked. I got my things and walked back to my hotel at Copley Square.”
I asked Booher the tough question. “Are you angry? C’mon, you’ve got to be pissed. You qualified, and somebody took away your glory.” I could sense her relief, even though I knew it was a sensitive question to ask.
“Sure, I’m mad,” she said. “Now I need to train and re-qualify all over again!” Fortunately, it turned out that these runners would be invited back to race in 2014.
Booher received excellent support from family and friends, and was welcomed home like the champion she is.
She will race again in 2014…and her family will be there to support her.
CHARITY RACES FOR BOSTON
Here in the DC area, many of us in the running community gathered together. I ran in a few charity races to raise money for Boston. One runner, Alexander Cochran, who hosted a charity run (Boston Strong Run), has never competed in Boston; he would have this past year, but he missed the qualifying time by 4 minutes. So when his friend, Jamie Hoag, competed at Boston and sent him the photos of the devastation, Cochran jumped at the chance to do something for the families who were affected by the tragic bombing (see his story on page 24). The race, run along the bucolic Potomac River, was not only amazing, but was supported widely by the community, as well as Cardinal Bank and other businesses.
Many other runners and organizations have pulled together to raise money for Boston Marathon victims and their families. And this year, at the ING New York City Marathon, charity teams are being formed to raise money. Learn more at www.charityteams.org.
Charity teams are being formed to raise money for victims and their families. Visit www.charityteams.org to learn more.