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Plenty to celebrate on Boylston Street

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  May 25, 2013 06:35 PM

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As a result of the bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon, more than 5,000 runners were stopped in their tracks along the course, unable to complete the race they had trained for all winter.

#onerun was a one-mile run along the final stretch of the marathon course that began with an email from Andy Marx, former leader of the Most Informal Running Club Ever and grew into a city-sanctioned event thanks to the collaboration of leadership from running groups across the Boston area and coordination of the race management company RaceMenu.

tshirts.jpgThe event was pretty amazing. I arrived early to volunteer and so did a heck of a lot of other people. So many in fact, that RaceMenu had to close its volunteer registration link on its website because so many people wanted to help out. I helped set up and sold t-shirts for a while, but then got to head over for the coolest part of my volunteer assignment – being part of the human chain that would lead runners to the starting line

The runners lined up on Beacon Street, listening to pep talks by Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, former Celtic Walter McCarty and city Councillor Mike Ross. Four runners, 3 with American flags and one with a Chinese flag in honor of those killed, led the line of about 3,000 runners.

choir.jpgI held it together while children from the St. Ann’s choir in Dorchester sang the national anthem, but after our human chain walked to the “One Mile To Go” mark on Beacon Street, my eyes filled with tears as the Boston Police played the bagpipes and our human chain broke apart to send the runners on their way.

After most of the runners passed, I jumped in and myself ran the last mile of the marathon route. For a portion of my run, I was near a couple, the guy shouting words of encouragement and filming the girl, who it appeared had run the marathon April 15th. I separated from them a bit and made my way down Boylston Street.

medal.jpgThe crowds were not marathon-sized, but the cheers were. Runners who had already finished lined both sides of the street and along with spectators cheered as new runners finished. Many runners who had run the marathon wore their marathon bibs, and several had family hand them their medals at the finish line. A few moments after I crossed, I saw the couple I had run near earlier hugging, the girl, between sobs, saying, “I finally did it.”

Obviously there were a lot of urgent issues to resolve after this year’s Boston Marathon. For the Boston running community, it was important to again make the finish line a place of joy and celebration again.

Over a month delayed for many, there was plenty to celebrate on Boylston Street today.

Chrissy Horan is a frequent contributor to Boston.com's Marathon blog. Read more from her on her own blog, Chrissy Runs Again.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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