Column, by Tiffany Piplica Hartpence
Some seven years ago this week, I lined up at the start of the 2013 Boston Marathon not having the slightest idea what was coming.
Every runner has their own reasons for running Boston.
For me, the Boston Marathon was one of the most relaxed races I’ve ever run. I had just had my second baby and just qualifying for Boston was a huge feat. It’s really hard, running a sub-3:35 marathon means 8:00 minute pace for 26.2 miles.
It was a tremendous accomplishment for me to qualify, just to be there. As a busy, working mom, I knew the time commitment and level of fitness to for me to run Boston may be a once in a lifetime event for me, so I savored it. I didn’t look at my watch, I looked at the city. I didn’t pay attention to my breathing, I talked to other runners.
I didn’t care about my form. I gave high-fives to spectators. I remember seeing my husband Sam and a sleeping baby Chase somewhere around mile 17. My son Alden and my mom were at the finish line. For hours my boy sat at the finish line, by a bomb!
By the time mile 20 rolled around I started to feel anxious to be done, I figured four-year old Alden was getting stir crazy and baby Chase was probably getting hungry. I kicked into gear.
By the time I crossed the finish line I didn’t have the typical joy of finishing a run. I didn’t jog back to the finish to cheer on other runners. I didn’t stop at the food table despite having just finished a marathon. I didn’t do any of the things I normally would do after finishing a marathon.
My lighthearted, happy vibe marathon shifted in an unexplainable way. I crossed the finish line and had a bad feeling so I called my mom from the finish area, who had Alden at the finish line, and asked her to meet me a couple blocks away.
She and Alden left and missed the explosion by about a minute; they were about a block and around the corner from the explosion site.
My gut feeling helped save my Alden, and that day I learned to never ignore it.
So that is my Boston Marathon bomb story – 7 years later. Here’s to #Bostonstrong. I’m so proud to have been there.