On a cold morning in early March, DeAnne Weaver is lacing up her shoes to go for a run.
Today she’s doing six miles at Brown County State Park.
Six miles is an easy distance for marathon runners, but the hills can be unforgiving.
Weaver runs five days a week. She likes the feeling it gives her. But this is about more than the rush of endorphins she’ll get.
Weaver is training for the Boston Marathon.
The legendary 26.2 mile course is the most holy of them all. Unlike other races, you have to qualify for Boston, meaning it’s mostly exclusive to fast, elite runners.
“A lot of runners try many many years to qualify to get there and there’s so much history and so many great runners have run there,” Weaver says.
This is the second time Weaver is participating in Boston.
“And this year will be even more special because we didn’t get to see the finish last year,” she says.
Bombs Keep Runners From Crossing Finish Line
About 5,000 people including Weaver and her sister were forced to stop last year when two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Here’s how Weaver and her sister Beth Carr, who was also running, tell the story:
“We got to about 25 and a half miles and everything stopped,” Weaver says. “We weren’t quite sure what happened, we heard sirens and we thought someone had a heart attack or something. We started to hear people in the crowd say they heard it was an explosion.
“But a lot of people’s cell phones weren’t working so they weren’t getting good information. We stood there for a while longer and at that time we saw 20 to 30 paramedics running down the median between our lane and the other lane, running full speed ahead. Then we started hearing sirens, and once the sirens started, they didn’t stop for hours after that.
“We probably walked off the course at 2 o’clock and we just spent several hours just walking around,” Carr says. “Just looking for where our bags were that had our phones, our money, or IDs, our warm clothes.”
“Everyone was so cold, we had to find a place to go. So everybody started dispersing,” Weaver says. “People went into hotels, they went in restaurants, they went in barbershops, they went anywhere they could and we ended up in a tavern. And so a young girl walked over to us and asked if she could text our family and let them know we were ok, and we said sure we’d love that. So we did text our family and let them know. Later I asked my husband how long that period was from when he found out about the bombings until we let him know, he said 2 hours, but it was in fact 45 minutes.”
Weaver and Carr’s families back home were watching the wall-to-wall television coverage.
Three people were killed and 260 were injured.
A Record Breaking Marathon
This year’s Boston Marathon is destined to be a record breaker. More runners than ever, and more than a million spectators are expected to turn out.
The rock stars of running will be there, united to show they can’t be stopped.
“I think it’s going to be a celebration for runners in general, and the tenacity of runners that we’re not going to let this stop us,” Weaver says.
Runners who weren’t able to finish last year were invited back to this year’s race without having to re-qualify. Carr declined the slot. She says she doesn’t feel the need to go back and finish.
Weaver, meanwhile, calls this year’s Boston her victory lap.
She’s logged 500 or 600 training miles over the last several months. She’s ready, or as ready as she can be.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen in 26 miles,” Weaver says. “Things hurt after 26 miles. Things can happen with your body. You hope you feel well. It’s just the unknown when you start. This year will be special because we didn’t get to see the finish line last year, and that’s iconic. I want to experience that.”