by Chris McClung
Patriots’ Day. Marathon Monday. It’s an official holiday in Massachusetts and an unofficial one for runners everywhere else. It’s Boston day. And, Boston is Boston. There is no atmosphere like it any year, much less this one.
It’s a day where, if I’m not running, my productivity usually goes to zero as I watch the online feed of the elite race and then incessantly refresh my web browser thereafter while cheering for friends through the tracking screen. Last year I did so from home, stricken with a stomach virus, confined to my bed between sprints to the bathroom. I will never forget that day, the day that 3 people were killed and 264 others were injured by two angry young men and two explosions in a senseless act of terrorism and violence.
I remember first getting the news on my Twitter feed as someone tweeted a pic of blood, carnage and loose body parts on the sidewalk. I remember wondering if it was some sick joke. I remember watching the replays on TV over and over again as the blasts went off near the finish line and everyone scrambled to make sense of it all. I remember being humbled to see so many run toward the blasts to help instead of sprinting away in fear. I remember wondering if my friends were ok and frantically checking the results feed to see if any of their finish times were close to the time of the blasts.
I remember the hours of watching Facebook and email as we gradually accounted for every Rogue that was there that day. I remember feeling relieved that everyone I knew was okay but then simultaneously guilty because I knew others couldn’t say the same. I remember learning that one of the casualties was a young boy there to watch the race with his family and feeling a tiny part of his father’s pain imagining the day I hope my sons will do the same. I remember the energy that poured out from every part of the running community as BostonStrong became a rallying cry in defiance against the evil of those angry men. And, I remember deciding that day that there would be nothing that could keep me from this year’s race knowing that we as runners and the city of Boston would rise together in solidarity and love to make it the best Boston day ever.
Fast forward to this year, and I can say unequivocally that it was exactly that. The best Boston Marathon day ever, in so many ways – the crowds, the love, the people, the runners, Shalane, Meb, Boston.
It is impossible to put it all into words especially since so much has already been written about that day. Even though I originally chose to be there for different reasons, I ultimately found the true magic in seeing the day and race through the eyes of others. It was a special day for all of us to be sure, but everyone was inspired to be there for different reasons. Everyone brought a unique perspective and aura to the collective energy, and as Steve implored us (as Rogues) in his pre-race talk, we all gave our best and contributed to the energy, from the fans on the street to the cops in the corrals all the way through to the runners on the street. It was the epitome of love, magnified and transmitted through 36,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers, and over a million spectators.
It was a weekend of special moments. For me, the highlight was sharing a room with the Rogue contingent of 50+ runners and their friends/family on the afternoon before the race. Before Steve gave a talk that would inspire us all, we went around the room for introductions and each person shared their reason for being there, their purpose for the day. I still get chills thinking about it. Some were there with big time goals, others for their first and hard-earned Boston race, many because of what happened last year or in spite of it, all with unique and beautiful reasons to toe the line and contribute their best to each of 26.2 miles.
Here is the weekend in their words and images. They do it justice more than I ever could:
“For me the Blessing of the Athletes at Old South Church on Easter morning was an incredibly emotional experience.
‘One: Strong and faithful God, we ask Your blessing on these athletes who have come to race and compete. Keep them safe from injury and harm. Instill in them respect for each other. Give them the endurance to compete well. Reward them for their discipline and perseverance.
Congregation: May you mount up with wings like eagles. May you run and not grow weary. May you walk and not faint.
One: Today, we wrap Marathon athletes in love and prayer by presenting you with a handmade blue and gold scarf. The scarves are a labor of love by knitters across the country and beyond, specifically for this year’s athletes. May the scarf warm your spirit as you maneuver a new city, as you carry the weight of a somber anniversary year, and as you look down 26.2 miles with resolve.’” – Gabriel Trinidad
“I have never in my life been a part of such a special event. The entire weekend was extremely emotional and even though the race didn’t go as planned, I still had a blast. I know this was a race I will be able to tell my kids and grand kids about, and I am so happy I was a part of it.” – Scott MacPherson
“Steve gave a great inspirational talk before our 2014 Boston Marathon race about being part of this experience. How we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to Boston and how we owe it to all those who wanted to be here but did not make it … to make this race and this experience about running WITH the magic, running WITH your Rogue teammates, running WITH Boston. It is not about running against … but running WITH. We not only ran it with… but we celebrated it with!” – James Allen
“Seconds after finishing this years Boston I was exhilarated to complete the last 300 meters on Bolyston that the blasts kept me from last year. The Austin Rogue crew was present and a pre-race meeting above Copley Square was epic by any definition.”
– Michael Breen
“Running the 2014 Boston Marathon and experiencing first hand the indomitable spirit of Boston is something that I will never forget. I didn’t feel like I was out there racing Boston on my own, I felt like I was apart of something much, much bigger than myself. We were all – the runners, spectators, and volunteers – in it together. We ran as one and that feeling of togetherness is something I will never be able to put into words, but will always remember.“ – Deidre Skrudland
“For me, running Boston was about optimism, hope and defying the limits of possible. I once thought I could not qualify & run the most exclusive marathon in the world. Setbacks of surgery and injury tried to sideline me, but I remained hopeful, savored the experience & squashed impossible. The 2014 Boston Marathon epitomized hope and resilience. I hope every runner with the dream to run Boston overcomes their obstacles, sets their sights & makes it happen.” – Jennifer Howard-Brown
“I was most impressed by the unity of spirit of the City of Boston for the marathon and the support of the spectators during the race, as well as people I met wherever I went. As I ran along the roads and through the New England towns, I kept in mind Steve Sisson’s pre-race message that we were privileged to be a part of an event much larger than ourselves and that competition was not the most important consideration for this unique race. Boston 2014 was a once in a lifetime experience for me, having first contemplated running the Boston Marathon as a young naval officer in 1968. Thanks to Rogue and especially Coach Kim for preparing me to run through adversity to the finish!” – Scott Beachy
“When I signed up for the 2014 Boston Marathon, I originally did so to check a box off my bucket list. Both training and the actual race turned into so much more — I came out of it as a RiffRaffian and a member of the Unicorn Mafia. Plus, I got to not only witness but be part of a momentous event that included 26.2 miles of the most passionate spectators and runners I’ve ever encountered.”
– Emily McCoy from the Unicorn Mafia (RiffRaff group in Boston!)
“Boston was something I dreamed of when I began running 10 years ago. My dad inspired me to run and we always planned on running it together some day. He passed away this past October but he’s the reason I ever made it there. He was my number one fan and my most inspiring coach. When I run, it keeps his spirit alive.”
– Sarah Stein-Lobovits
“For me, the 2014 Boston Marathon was really more about giving back than it was chasing a crazy fast time. I wanted to give back to a family and community that’s given me so much over the past couple of years. All while running in a race I’ve come to love more than any other. That said, I had the privilege of helping to pace some close friends in Team Rogue as well as a longtime friend from college. It was undeniably evident in Boston that Rogues ran as one. One collective family.”
– Bryan Morton
“Finishing my 6th consecutive Boston Marathon, requalifying for my 7th with a 12 minute cushion” – Amy Anderson (the picture tells the story!)
“America ran with Boston on this Patriot’s Day in a way that has never before been witnessed. I told Scotty MacPherson after the race, ‘This was the most important & influential footrace in human history.’ I do not believe that is hyperbole. We were a part of it. The Rogue crew here represented Rogue, Austin, Texas, America & the global running community on a day that made history. I am so proud to be a part of the Rogue community.” – Coach Steve Sisson
Rogue Results in Boston:
Scott MacPherson, 2:19 (19th overall and 9th American)
Marc Bergman, 2:44 (1st overall from Austin)
Mark Heerensperger, 2:48 (2nd overall from Austin)
Alex Lohr, 2:48 (3rd overall from Austin)
Bryan Morton, 2:51 (5th overall from Austin)
Muz Musal, 2:52 (7th overall from Austin)
Chris McClung, 2:56 (10th overall from Austin)
Larry Bright, 2:58 (2nd masters from Austin)
Nora Colligan, 2:58 (1st female from Austin)
Mike McGinn, 3:00
Lee Toowey, 3:01
Jim Fitzpatrick, 3:02
Kirk Larson, 3:03
Michael Wedel, 3:03
Kim Eldridge, 3:11 (3rd female from Austin)
Ryan Bane, 3:15
Kamran Shah, 3:18
Nadia Tamby, 3:19
James Allen, 3:22
Phil Carmical, 3:23
Ashley Johnson, 3:23
Wes Johnson, 3:23
Gretchen Sanders, 3:23
Sarah Watson, 3:24
Karen Russell, 3:25
Mark Enstone, 3:26
Colin Looney, 3:28
Brian Gannon, 3:29
Deidre Skrudland, 3:31
Devon Kiernan, 3:33
Amanda Bergstrom, 3:37
Mandi Makarski, 3:37
Brandy Dodson, 3:39
Kent Little, 3:47
Tracie Matysik, 3:47
Amy Anderson, 3:48
Sarah Stein-Lobovits, 3:49
Dana Andrae, 3:52
Quincy Arey, 3:52
Danielle Duhon, 3:52
Angie McDermott, 3:52
Gabriel Trinidad, 4:05
Scott Beachy, 4:11
Michael Breen, 4:18
Stephanie Kurpiewski, 4:21
Jennifer Howard-Brown, 4:23
Lenora Goessling, 6:09 (1st marathon while 25 weeks pregnant)
Chris McClung heads up all things retail at Rogue Running, and currently coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.