118th Running of the Boston Marathon Set for April 21
Monday's running of the Boston Marathon will serve as a tribute to the four people killed in last year’s bombing and its aftermath, including University of Massachusetts Boston alumna Krystle Campbell. But the day will also be about showing resilience, completing a goal, and raising money for a good cause.
John Peterson ran the 2013 race in support of GoKids Boston, an initiative of UMass Boston’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. He crossed the finish line about 15 minutes before the first bomb went off.
“I thought it was just some celebratory event until the second one went off. Everything went silent and we heard the emergency vehicles,” the sixth-grade teacher recalled. “The whole week after was just surreal. It’s hard to explain the mixed emotions I was feeling. I felt I wanted to celebrate my finish, but just could not.”
Peterson will run for GoKids again this year. He says the organization is important because it helps teach students to make good decisions about their health.
“Boston was supposed to be just a one-year event for me. Then the bombings happened and I knew I needed to show resilience and run again. I can’t wait to be out there running again for GoKids Boston,” Peterson said.
Meghan McGill was a half-mile from the finish line when the bombs went off. She, too, will run again in 2014—her eighth marathon, and her second for GoKids Boston’s Motley Crew team.
“Growing up I was fortunate enough to have a backyard to play in, healthy food to eat and was encouraged to play sports. Not all kids have these opportunities, and I admire that Go Kids works to give children with obesity the tools to lead a healthier life. As a research scientist myself, I also believe that the research-driven aspect of Go Kids is extremely important and impactful,” McGill said.
The 2014 race will be Michael Monestime’s first marathon. The senior American studies major is running for Team Camp Shriver, part of UMass Boston’s Center for Social Development and Education.
“My cousin Gary has special needs, and I was drawn to Camp Shriver’s mission to use sports as a vehicle to bring children with and without disabilities together so that they have the opportunity to develop their motor and social skills,” Monestime said.
Monestime didn’t run in last year’s marathon, after he heard what happened, he rode his bike from Cambridge to the finish line and let runners use his cell phone to connect with their families. What happened that day is still very much on his mind.
“Each long run we dedicate to someone, and there have been many weeks as part of our training where we have gone out and run in memory of those affected by last year’s bombing,” Monestime said. “All my friends and family have helped to get me to the starting line, but it will be the spirit of those injured and killed last year that will propel me the 26.2 miles to the finish line on Boylston Street.”
Eric Ashe, an assistant men’s track and field coach in his second year at UMass Boston, was also inspired to run for the first time this year. He’s hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials. He’ll need to finish under 2:18:00.
“Marathon training has shown me that the human body is capable of remarkable feats. A couple of years ago, I never would have thought I would be capable of doing some of the workouts I've completed recently. I relay this to my athletes by telling them not to sell themselves short,” Ashe said.
UMass Boston awarded Campbell a posthumous degree last June.
About UMass Boston
Recognized for its innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.