Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Impacted' runners hope to heal, connect

Nursing teacher Adrienne Wald, center, hopes to run in memory of student Krystle Campbell (photo on banner), killed last year.

Associated Press

Nursing teacher Adrienne Wald, center, hopes to run in memory of student Krystle Campbell (photo on banner), killed last year.

BOSTON — "I need to run."

The messages started arriving just hours after the bombings at last year's Boston Marathon, pleading for an entry into the 2014 race. For months the calls and emails continued, runners begging for an opportunity to cross the finish line on Boylston Street, convinced it would ease at least some of their grief.

"They'd say, 'I'm not a qualified runner; I don't think I ever will be. I train. I run. I could do it. But because of what happened last year, I need to run,' " Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk said.

"It might have been because they were present at the finish or they knew somebody who was working or was affected. They might have been somebody who lives in Haverhill, Mass., and they were watching the race and it hit them hard. That was true for a lot of people. And we received some of these communications, and we thought, 'What do we do?' "

The Boston Athletic Association had already expanded this year's field to include more than 5,000 runners who were stranded on the course when the two explosions killed three and wounded 264. A few extra invitations were issued to first responders and the victims or their families. Others went to charities and the towns along the route. Some who said they were personally touched by the tragedy were already given bibs.

But organizers believed they might still have been missing people who perhaps didn't think their trauma was worthy amid all the lost limbs and physical scars. So in November they announced that about 500 bibs would be available for those "personally and profoundly impacted by the events of April 15, 2013."

In 250-word essays submitted on the Boston Athletic Association's website, 1,199 would-be runners made their case. Almost 600 had the connection the association was looking for.

One was Adrienne Wald , a UMass-Boston nursing professor who had run the race five times and was a finish-line volunteer with some of her students last year.

"I made them read articles about hypothermia, blisters, cramps. And instead they were carrying people with tourniquets around their legs and horrific injuries," Wald said. "I was worried they were going to change their majors. Instead they came into my office: 'I'm going to be an E.R. nurse now.' 'I'm going to work in trauma.' They saw role models that day coming out of the medical tent acting like the top pros that they are."

None of Wald's students was injured. But another UMass-Boston student, Krystle Campbell, was killed. Wald received bib No. 24741 and was hoping to run in Campbell's memory, but the injury that kept her from running last year could put her back on the sweep team with her students.

"Running would probably be the dumbest thing I ever do. But it's going to be really hard not to," she said. "If I can't run it, I am beyond happy, honored to help other people reach their goals."

.fast facts

Boston Marathon

When: 10 a.m. today (earlier starts for mobility impaired)

Course: 26.2 miles, from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston

Last year: Two bombs exploded near the finish line at 2:50 p.m. as runners finished. Three people were killed, 264 injured.

ETC: 36,000 runners are expected, about 9,000 more than usual. One reason: The 5,633 who couldn't finish last year were guaranteed entry. The record is 38,708 runners, set in 1996 for the race's 100th anniversary.

'Impacted' runners hope to heal, connect 04/20/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2014 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: How good is this Lightning team?

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning is 5-1-1 to start the season but giving up a lot of goals each game, so just how good is this team? Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break it down in their latest podcast.

    New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri, center right, collides with Lightning goalie Peter Budaj (31) as defenseman Victor Hedman (77) and defenseman Jake Dotchin (59) help defend. [AP photo]
  2. Florida Gators, Kevin Knox get preseason SEC basketball honors

    Blogs

    After last year's run to the Elite Eight, the Florida Gators are one of the favorites in the SEC.

  3. Dirk Koetter, not Jameis Winston, has to make the call

    Blogs

    “Touchdown” Tom Jones, the best Bucs columnist in town, took it to the house Tuesday when he wrote that Jameis Winston should do the right thing and take a seat if he’s not perfectly healthy to play at Buffalo.

    Whether Jameis Winston plays Sunday or not is Dirk Koetter's call.
  4. This is no time for Jameis Winston to play hero

    Bucs

    Don't be a hero, Jameis.

    Do the right thing. Do what's best.

     Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sits on the bench during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) 700070683
  5. NBA off and running to its usual ending

    Blogs

    The NBA season began Tuesday night.

    It ends in June.

    Call me when the Warriors win.

    True, there was news Tuesday night, bad news, grisly news, as Celtics small forward and newcomer Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and broke his tibia in a look-away injury early in Boston’s opener at LeBron.

    Call me when the Warriors win, Martin Fennelly writes.