When Dennis Crowley set out to run the 2013 Boston Marathon, the Medway native and Foursquare co-founder had no idea he’d never get the chance to cross the finish line.
Like thousands of other runners, Crowley was stopped before turning down Boylston Street because two bombs had gone off near the finish line, killing three people and injuring 264 others. And like thousands of other runners, Crowley is viewing this Marathon Monday as a chance to finish the race he started over one year ago.
But the race isn’t the only thing Crowley didn’t finish in 2013. In the lead up to last year’s marathon, he penned an essay about why he was running. He never got to publish it.
This week, he finally did, but only after updating his story with his terrifying experience of being stopped and not knowing what was happening just a short distance ahead of him.
I first heard about the bombs via a Twitter DM (Direct Message) sent from my buddy Ryan Sarver. "Are you okay? Bombs at finish line." Whoa bombs? Finish line? Cell service was super spotty. I wasn't getting any texts. Most runners didn't have their phones and the few that did had little battery by this point. A few minutes later, a mass of people started running in our direction? many crying, some covered in debris. I started getting texts from friends, "Are you okay?" "Is Chelsa okay?" "Are your parents okay?"
I had no idea where Chelsa was, except for that fact that she was in front of me somewhere. We got split up around mile 16. I'm thinking: "Bombs at the finish line? I'm 4 mins from finishing the race? and Chelsa can't be any more than 10 mins ahead of me?. !!!"
And somewhere in that half mile from to , my Mom, my Dad and my cousin Michelle were all waiting to cheer us on for that last stretch down Boylston Street.
There are so many people that had a similar experience that day, but what’s great about Crowley’s essay is that he’s not trying to speak for any of them. His story may be a shared one, but his takeaway is personal and touching.
So here we are today - 4 days out. I'm ready to run it again. I'm ready to finish it this time. I'm hoping finishing will give me some closure / relief from whatever is still left over from last year. It's clear that there's still some unresolved shock and grief that I didn't deal with a year ago and I'm looking forward to letting that go.
This race means a lot to me. I'm fired up for it.
He’s just a man who wanted to run down Boylston Street with his loved ones cheering him on. His story may not be the most unique one or the most inspiring one, but his passion for crossing the finish line is something we can all get behind.