As a runner in New England, the Boston Marathon is the Super Bowl of races. It is iconic, it is historic and it is the pinancle race for a runner. Many people work their whole lives chasing their BQs. It is a bucket list item for them, the ultimate goal. So when terrorists destroyed that happy place, that literal and figurative finish line – it was incomprehensible as to why. They had taken something that was nothing but happiness and turned into something terrifying.
For too many reasons to list here, the bombing affected us deeply and personally. But professionally, we had to host our own marathon just down the road and a few weeks after the bombing. We had snipers in the river and in the bushes, armed guards at the start line and dogs sniffing for explosives. It was a very scary time in our nation and our New England running community. But the race went off without a hitch, notwithstanding so many tears at the finish – of relief, of accomplishment, of joy. Runners can’t be stopped and won’t be afraid. We had invited runners that did not get a chance to finish Boston to the Providence race so they could finish what they started and show the terrorists that they would not win. Watching people finish that year was truly awe-inspiring. It was an incredibly emotional day and made us feel that we might be able to run without fear again. It is where our motto can to be – “The happiest place on earth is a finish line.”
Later on that same year, we hosted another marathon in Newport. We were still (and likely still are) feeling the pain and confusion from the April bombings, trying to make sense of it all. We invited Newport native and bombing survivor, Heather Abbott, to start the race. Heather was one of the most positive and uplifting people we had ever met. My encounter with her was inspiring and unforgettable. At the time, she was so looking forward to being able to wear heels again! 🙂
This year we are hosting Newport again. On the five year anniversary of the Boston Bombing. It is highly symbolic for us. To overcome, to not let fear keep us down, to show that running is inspiring and can change lives and that no one can take that away from us.
To this end, we can think of no better way to honor this than to partner with Heather again and designate her charity as the beneficiary of this race. Heather’s positivity, her cause and her story are so inspiring. Please consider making a donation to the Heather Abbott Foundation and show those that attempt to keep us off the starting line that we won’t be kept down.
“Thanks to Rhode Races and all of the runners for supporting HAF in our beautiful home base, Newport, RI. Good luck and thank you for embodying our motto – #LiveYourLife!!” -Heather Abbott