My name is Jerry. I am the owner and operator of TNT Timing. I also run. I have run 5 marathons to date, with super high ups and really bottom-of-the-barrel lows. Last year was a bad year of running for me, but a great year in my life. I had a bulging disc in my back which completely stopped me from training in June, an absolutely terrible Boston in 85 degree high humidity heat, and missed running a destination half marathon due to illness. But I also welcomed my beautiful daughter into the world with my loving wife. Regardless of my running, last year was a great year.
I was ready to redeem myself at Boston this year.
Through December I was coasting through 30-40 mile weeks. In January, I increased my mileage through the 50s and 60s. Through the 70s in February until I hit 80 miles a week. March brought 3 80+ mile weeks and my first 300+ mile month. I ran hill repeats weekly. I did hard interval training. I was ready for Boston.
Boston Monday came and I ran the race I wanted to, hit the splits I wanted. I had a 6 minute marathon PR and a 10 minute Boston PR. Being the new father I am, my dad and I jumped back into the car to get home before my daughter went to sleep. We just got onto I-95N when the first set of tandem ambulances were heading into Boston. I-90 was a constant stream of police and ambulances. My race no longer meant anything to me as we listened to the radio. We couldn’t believe what was happening.
It is extremely humbling to realize I ran past the same locations where those terrible events happened. That 2 hours previously I crossed the same finish line joyfully that now first responders were crossing to save lives. This doesn’t happen in running. We cross the finish line and clap the next runner on the back, “Good job”, “Nice race”.
I received a phone call from my place of employment (yes, I have a day job, the timing business is a side gig). I do not know how they knew I was in Boston, and it doesn’t matter. It is amazing the sense of community, of family, that one phone can bring from a total stranger. But that is what runners are – we are a family. We stand up and help the runner next to us. We cheer for each other. We shake hands with the person we were just racing to the finish line against.
That is what runners do. That is what family does. Runners are a family.
And we will stand up taller and stronger after this. We will continue to run and train with our heads and hearts held high. I will run Boston next year. And when I cross the finish line, I won’t be staring at the finish line clock. I will place my hand over my heart and remember the terror that happened on April 15, 2013.