Tragedy to Triumph


This time of year conjures up many feelings, some of which may include inspiration, community, and this year in particular, triumph. For those of you running in the 2014 edition of the Boston Marathon, I join the millions around the world who will applaud you every step of the way.

Having coached the Boston Children’s Hospital Marathon Team, and many other finishers of this event, I have been humbled and inspired by the determination and perseverance of those runners completing this historical and challenging course. As marathon courses go, Boston is considered one of the toughest. Surprisingly, the challenge begins immediately, right up until mile 17. When examining the course profile, you will notice it’s downhill for more than half the race!

Of the five World Marathon Majors (Boston, London, New York, Berlin and Chicago), Boston has the greatest elevation change, a difference of 450 feet from start to finish. The pounding your legs take up to that point is tremendous. Then, THE TURN. The right hand turn, past the Newton Fire Station and onto Commonwealth Avenue, sets the stage for the hills that are legendary among marathon lore. From mile 17-22, it’s a series of victories and periods of absolute suffering, as runners drag their bodies over the hills of Newton and eventually are dumped out onto Beacon Street, following the run through Cleveland Circle. The punishment some runners endure in conquering this 26.2 mile course is mind blowing. However, with that being said, I will venture to predict, this years’ edition of the Boston Marathon will undoubtedly be the year we will see the highest percentage of overall finishers.

For every runner of the Boston Marathon, there are tens of thousands of spectators who encourage, motivate and push each of them to cross the line with their arms raised high. In 2013, some of those spectators were permanently affected by the tragic events on Marathon Monday. One of those spectators was Roseann Sdoia. As her Personal Trainer for the past 7 years, we previously discussed the possibility of her competing in her first triathlon during the Summer of 2013. The possibility was forever shattered in the minutes following the first blast that day.

As the United States Marine Corps mantra states, Adapt and Overcome has become an attitude encompassing the events of April 15, 2013. Roseann has shown tremendous strength, both physically and mentally, as well as an undeniable will to get back to running. Her never-give-up mentality is an example of her ability to adapt to life altering circumstances and the iron will to overcome the fate that she now owns. I am fortunate and privileged to be one of many coaches, Physical Therapists, and Doctors who are contributing to her full recovery.

There is something about lacing up a pair of sneakers and walking out your front door and going for a run, no matter how long the distance. The simplicity of it all screams FREEDOM, and awaken feelings of joy and peace for many. Boston is a hotbed for runners, with running clubs, running events and even running stores named after an iconic Boston Marathon winner. If you happened to be in Boston during the 2014 Boston Marathon, join in the applause and cheer on these athletes. When each runner crosses the finish line, there will be millions applauding along with you, right up until the very last racer. We are free. We are Boston Strong.

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