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Entries in New York Marathon (2)


Erin Runs the Boston Marathon, Again – 2013 Update

Regular readers know my daughter runs Marathons.  Her last scheduled Marathon was the New York Marathon, where she was a numbered runner.  Sadly, that Marathon got canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.

We have various traditions we follow.  We always carbo-load the night before, and this year was no difference.  Erin’s entire family and her running mate/boyfriend joined us.

The next day we have breakfast at Chet’s Diner.  The entire Chet’s “family” makes over Erin, and Erin brims with pride.

We drop her off at the Hopkinton State Park, where she rides a school bus to the start. 

While she prepares to start, her “support team” makes its way to designated stops.  These stops are selected based on our ability to get in and out of the area swiftly.  We met her in Framingham, Wellesley (twice), and then rush to greet her at the finish.

We were standing next to the Lenox Hotel waiting for Erin when the explosions occurred (see photo).  We were on the Boylston side closest to the second explosion.  The first one seemed almost celebratory…until the smoke.  Then the second one created panic as people just turned and ran.

From the New York Times

I sent out a tweet…more to let the world know badness was underway at the marathon.  Note the time…2:50PM.




Two of the family stayed together….and walked to Fenway Park.  Erin’s boyfriend and I stayed in the area, because we needed to find Erin (daughter/runner) who was still on the course.



We had parked under the Prudential Tower (Pru), and moved to that area to find Erin.  Calls and texts would not go through, we were communicating via Facebook and Twitter.  We quickly learned everyone was OK, and then needed to reunite.



We were forced to “shelter in place” in the Pru (at Saks – if ever there was a nice place to shelter in place it’s Saks)….and then were hurriedly tossed out on Huntington Ave (apparently concern for another device.)   My cell battery went dead.  We did find out Erin was off to connect with the others near Fenway Park.

Erin’s boyfriend and I walked from the Pru to Fenway Park, and then on to Brighton where my son could pick us up (cars were not being allowed into Boston.)  So…we walked from the Pru to Brighton….roughly 2.2 miles.

The blasts were very loud, and shook the area.  The smell was that of gunpowder.  Erin’s boyfriend, being taller, saw bloody things a young man shouldn’t see…and that’s very sad.



My car was retrieved from the Pru Tuesday night (free parking!).  First responders were amazing (swift, and overwhelming response)….   I had 7 phone calls, 17 text messages, and 26 Facebook messages when I got power to my phone around six Monday night.  And gave one interview myself to a press outlet following my twitter feed.

As a father, I am worried about the scar tissue this is having on my family.  To address, I orchestrated a family dinner Tuesday night (the next night)….gave them all a chance to talk about it from their perspective.  We also got together Saturday night. 

For all of us, it is about knowing there is a deeper connection and support network within our family.  We all know it, and at a time like this it is so necessary to reinforce.

Family will get us through this.

And Erin is already planning her return.



When a Parent is Proudest

Sometimes children do things where all their upbringing comes together in the most amazing way.  Here is one such story.

My daughter likes running marathons.

I don’t “get it,” I get winded running out to the car let alone running 26.2 miles.

After running this year’s Boston Marathon as a “Back of the Pack” runner, she decided to get a bit more serious and applied to be a charity runner for the New York Marathon.  As a charity runner, she has to raise at least $2500, and pay fees, etc.

She got accepted!

Time to get serious!  Living in Boston, I know the Boston Marathon route and where to get in and out to see her along the way.  Not so in New York, where the Marathon goes through all five Boroughs.  No worries, I reached out to a couple New Yorkers for recommendations, and they acknowledged not knowing how to do this.  The Marathon draws 50,000 runners, and a million+ spectators.

This is one of those things where the costs rapidly get out of control.  We arranged for hotels, including paying for the extra nights required for the event.  And we got a car with a (local) driver to get us around.

And then Hurricane Sandy hit, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and some of Connecticut.

We were not sure the Marathon would even be held, and then Mayor Bloomberg said it had to happen (one week later), and the Marathon was named, “The Race to Recovery.”

Two days before the Marathon is was time for us to head to New York.  We did the typical pre-drive oil change (and inspection sticker), packed and headed down.

As we were driving, my daughter started expressing concern.  “I feel badly for those people, and feel like we shouldn’t be doing the Marathon right now.”

Of course, we reassured her.  “The Mayor says the show must go on, and the New York Road Runners must know things are OK.”

When we got just outside the City, we stopped for gas.  We waited in (a long) line, and watched people try cutting in.  A police officer was there, and commented, “If only people would take a deep breath, things could be different.  Take power and gas away from people and they go nuts.”

As we entered the City, the phone rang with a work colleague, “I was listening to ESPN radio, and I think they’ve canceled the Marathon.”  We Googled it, and saw there we rumors of cancellation, and the Mayor’s Office was denying.

And then the flood gates opened.  Eight friends sent me text messages, and my daughter’s phone started buzzing like a beehive.

We turned on ESPN Radio out of New York, and a debate was ensuing.  It was clear the NY Marathon was canceled.  The debate was why the Knick’s (storm delayed season opener) and the Giant’s games would not similarly be canceled.  Then a police officer called into the show.   “The Marathon is like a parade, with everyone running by in their shorts.”  The radio hosts went on, “Canceling the Marathon so late does little good.  Most of the runners are already here, and can’t leave immediately.  So they have to stay in hotel rooms blocking New Yorkers in need from using them.  We just saw a picture of a Mother huddled around a candle with her children as the wind swirled through the house….”

We quickly decided we could cancel our rooms and car, then head back home.  There were people in need and little interest in staying in town.

My daughter was very quiet on the way home.  We kept checking in on her, and she was dismayed people were leaving encouraging notes on her Facebook wall.

After an extended quiet time, she declared she had put her own update on Facebook:

Can without hesitation say the marathon being cancelled today was the right choice. I made the trip to NY today and saw the severe damage and waited 2 hours for gas and saw what fear can make people do.

Within seconds of getting to Times Square found out the marathon was cancelled. My family instantly cancelled all our hotel reservations and turned around to make the commute back to Boston. I would much prefer those rooms go to residents of NY who needed it more than we did.

Stay strong NY! 

She may not have had the opportunity to run the NY Marathon, but she came out tops!