What Patriot’s Day means to me

in SPORTS by

The Boston Marathon, called “Marathon Monday” where I’m from, is a prestigious event that brings together thousands of people from around the world. From the dreaded sight of Heartbreak Hill at mile 21 to crossing the finish line on Boylston there is nothing quite like soaking up the atmosphere of Boston on Patriot’s Day.

Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui won the men’s race with a time of 2:09.37, while first-time runner Edna Kiplagat, also a Kenyan, won the women’s race with a time of 2:21.52. Marcel Hug of Switzerland took the crown for the men’s wheelchair race, clocking in a time and new course record of 1:18.04. For the women’s wheelchair race, Manuela Schar also set a course record and snagged the victory with a time of 1:28.17.

The Boston Marathon has left a huge impact on my life ever since the bombings in 2013.

I live just outside of Boston, about a half-hour south, so I had numerous friends and family at the race, including my dad. The worst part about the situation, for me, was that I was in Kansas City participating in nationals for volleyball.

I had no way of getting in contact with anyone. I just had to sit in my hotel lobby, watch CNN and hope everyone was okay. We were the only team from Massachusetts there, and everyone in the hotel could tell, due to the fact we were sobbing in front of the television.

After hours and hours of waiting, my mom’s phone finally rang. It turned out my dad was at the JFK Library, which is technically in Boston, but nowhere near the finish line. However, I had a good amount of friends that were incredibly close to the bombs. I was attached to my phone for the next several hours waiting to hear from my friends.

All of my friends and my dad were safe. It was a relief, but I couldn’t fathom why someone would want to ruin one of the greatest days in my city. Marathon Monday has been a tradition for a very long time. When my grandfather ran it when he was younger, he came in 100th place, receiving a special medal and participating in a day he’ll never forget.

Since the bombings, the city of Boston could not be any stronger (Boston Strong if I’m being technical). We’ve seen survivors without limbs cross the finish line, we’ve heard incredible and powerful stories from people who were there in 2013 and we’ve witnessed why Boston is one of the toughest cities in the world.

Some of the stories from this year’s race were incredible. Kathrine Switzer, the first official female runner in the Boston Marathon 50 years ago, wore her classic bib number of 261 and ran the race again at 70 years old.

Back then, she had to sneak her way into the Marathon and was harassed by men on the course. Her number has been retired this year, as she is a pioneer for women in the sport’s world today.

Earl Granville, a nine-year veteran out of Pennsylvania, lost his leg when a roadside bomb went off in Afghanistan. He completed the race carrying an American flag the entire time. I’m so jealous my family was there to see Switzer and Granville run.

I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Boston (even though I live outside of it). However, after 2013, I’m prouder than ever. I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else, and I can definitely take the heat anywhere I go when I’m made fun of for being a Boston sports fan, because I know everyone is jealous.

2013 made my family, friends and myself a lot stronger, because it made us realize tomorrow isn’t really guaranteed. My dad could have easily been at the finish line. Anything can happen at any moment, and we just have to be thankful we’re here right now.