“This is the end of the innocence.” – Don Henley
When a runner makes the final turn off of Hereford Street onto Boylston Street, the Boston Marathon crowd jammed from curbside to rooftop is deafening. They endured twenty-six miles, and now the banner over the finish line is only two blocks away. With each step, spectators’ faces in the grandstand come into focus, and the red, yellow and blue finish line painted on the blacktop more colorful. Tens of thousands of screaming fans cheer their children, spouses, parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends and strangers. It is an experience that leaves a mark on a runner’s soul that can never be erased.
When I think about running down Boylston Street to the finish line eight years ago, I smile at the memory like it was just last week. It breaks my heart that the runners who crossed the finish line today, or had planned to cross it, will have somber memories instead. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost family and friends, to the injured, and those effected, which is all of us.