BENEFITING: JOE ANDRUZZI FOUNDATION
ORGANIZER: JOE ANDRUZZI FOUNDATION
EVENT: Boston Marathon 2014
EVENT DATE: Apr 21, 2014
Heartbreak hill – miles 18-22 in the Boston Marathon. At mile 22, most marathoners rejoice as they stretch their legs out running down hill passing the routy Boston College Students. As I reached mile 22 on April 14, 2013 and watched the road stretch out below me and I started to jog downhill, I had a horrible churning feeling in my stomach. As I watched the road stretch out in front of me and I could see the thousands of runners and fans ahead of me, I couldn’t help but think about how vulnerable we would be to a terrorist attack at that moment and how it would be a perfect time for terrorists to strike us. This thought continued to wander through my head for the last four miles. At 2:15 PM after 3 hours 24 minutes and 11 seconds bib number 25087 crossed the blue and yellow finish line on Boylston Street. I continued down Boylston to receive my medal and aluminum blanket. Further down Boylston I retrieved my bag from the yellow school buses and made my way back down Boylston towards the finish line. My family and I and my friends were all planning on meeting at the restaurant called the Forum which was right near the finish line to get food. At 2:51 PM in the afternoon, as I walked down Boylston, our city was bombed before our eyes and twelve seconds later we were bombed a second time. The city went up in a whirl of smoke and confusion. Families huddled together crying for their loved ones who were still running, people frantically fled the scene as sweat mixed with tears and sometimes blood. The city was in complete mayhem. My father called me and we were fortunate enough to reconnect. Our family got extremely lucky in that we were just far enough away from the bombings to stay safe. The bombs occurred just outside the forum, where we were headed. I don’t want to focus too much on the bombings themselves, but rather the response; it was instantaneous. At 2:45 I was scrolling through dozens of texts and messages wishing me good luck, but by 3:00, I was getting the first of hundreds of calls, texts, facebook messages, and emails. That number of messages of encouragement was dwarfed by the amount of people contacting me just to see if I made it away in time. Many of these people I hadn’t seen in years or hadn’t even met. In the aftermath of that day, I believe that Boston and the country as a whole are stronger now for it. All the countless people in my life who called, texted, visited, or emailed have made me a little tougher today. Besides the tragic ending however, my experience running the marathon and the three months leading up to it, were indescribable. It’s so hard to believe that a few months ago I stood at the starting line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, eagerly awaiting what became simultaneously one of the best and worst days of my life. Lost in the events of the afternoon are so many good things – great races, awesome fans, perseverance & resilience, the 18 different charities I ran with and the $1.4 million dollars they raised for great causes – and that’s even before 2:49 pm. For me, I was SO excited to see what was around every corner, SO eager to get to the Newton Hills, pass the colleges, high five fans, see friends and family in the crowd, and have thousands of fans cheering us on. I was SO proud to run in 3 hour 24 minutes and and 11 seconds and proud to beat my fathers best time and as soon as I crossed the finish line, somewhere around 2:15, and all I could think about was how great it would be to run next year. All I could think about was all the hard work, all the amazing people who helped me along the way. Everyone who donated to my cause, from $5 to $1000 dollars, or who even just encouraged me along the way. Even prior to the tragic events of that day, I knew I wanted to make marathoning a lifestyle. The great people, experiences and work that comes along with such a charitable event drives my love for this sport. Combining this love with the need to prove what Boston Strong really means to the world, I knew I had to run again.
The 2014 Boston Marathon will be even more special to me. Although I have moved away from home to the University of Notre Dame, my heart is still in Boston. My goal is to raise more money than I did last year, being the top fundraiser for this team. My goal is to beat my previous time of 3 hours 24 minutes and 11 seconds. I am even closer with this foundation than ever before because of the events, because of the further work I did for them as a foundation and because of my senior project last spring after the marathon. I spent the rest of the spring working in their offices learning about how their foundation runs. I am so unbelievably honored to be able to represent this foundation. The passion, dedication and success that this foundation embodies is without a match. Having been able to meet a number of the patients who benefit from this money has been quite a privilege and honor and has only strengthened my love for this foundation. I would really appreciate all of the help and support I can get.
JOE ANDRUZZI FOUNDATION wrote -
The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to providing help, hope, and a reason to smile for cancer patients and their families by contributing financial and emotional support when it is needed most.