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Who’s Got Heartbreak and Heart? Boston

Who’s Got Heartbreak and Heart? Boston

Every year that I’m not running the marathon, I stand halfway up Heartbreak Hill (the 20.5 mile mark) with a sign that asks, “Who’s got heart?” Every year, as runners struggle up the last big hill, men and women put their hands on their heart to indicate that they do, or shout “me!” Or perk up and ask “Is this Heartbreak? Is this the last hill!?”

The Boston Marathon is full of tremendous heart. Yesterday, there was incredible heartbreak.

First, there was heart racing. My husband and I were making our way towards our car in the Prudential Center when we smelled smoke and the crowd around us started pushing us back from Boylston Street.

No one knew what was going on. Since Adam had just run 26.2 miles, I wasn’t sure how much energy he had left to navigate the swiftly moving crowds, so we hobbled down an alley way away from the chaos. There, my heart pounding, I quickly texted friends to see what was going on. No response. I called my dad in California. He couldn’t find any information. Twitter was down. We couldn’t get online.

We were stuck in a dead end alley with no information as we heard sirens rage through the city and saw that no runners were coming through the course.

Thinking there had been gunfire (my gut instinct after Newtown and other recent tragedies), we were hesitant to move from our alleyway, yet nervous to stay put.

A few minutes later, a police officer came down the alley and told us we had to evacuate.

Fortunately, a friend lives on nearby Hereford street, and we had just been cheering for runners outside her apartment. We made our way two blocks down to her place, where we were welcomed with open arms.

For the next few hours, we sat on the edge of the couch, glued to the TV and our phones, trying to navigate information as we saw ambulances, police and national guard troops move down Hereford. Our friend generously welcomed in complete strangers, fueling runners and spectators alike with food and drinks, offering power cords for depleted phone batteries and support for those whose hearts were breaking.

It was a surreal experience, watching things unfold on TV in a place that, just minutes earlier, we had been one block away from. We anxiously reached out to other runners, confirmed their locations and ensured that those we knew and loved were in safe places.

As evening approached, we made our way to Massachusetts Avenue and walked across the Mass Ave bridge to Cambridge, our home. As police cars zoomed by us with lights and sirens blazing, a wonderfully kind friend picked us up and drove us the rest of the way home.

As the last 24 hours have unfolded, I have connected with friends who were running or near the finish; heard harrowing tales from those close by; and wept at the tragic and senseless violence we all experienced directly or indirectly.

My heart has broken repeatedly as one story emerges after another. Especially in the case of Martin, the 8-year-old who was watching his dad. There are simply no words.

But, there is also tremendous heart. So many stories of those who jumped in to help victims, lend shelter to runners, carry victims to medical care, provide solace for those in need, offer cell phones to stranded travelers.

Just like the runners I see every year who put their hands over their hearts or utter a breathless “I do” as they struggle up the hardest hill in the race, Boston has tremendous heart. And it’s that heart I’ve seen on display at every moment since yesterday’s tragedy. That’s the heart we’ll continue to have going forward. As grueling as Heartbreak Hill is, it signals the last hill ’till the finish. We may not see the last hill of this horrific event for a while, but I know that we will reach the finish. No one can take away Boston’s heart.

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.

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64 comments

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8:11AM PDT on May 27, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:49AM PDT on Apr 24, 2013

I am so impressed with the people of Boston and their beautiful spirit ~ makes me want to live there and be one of them!

8:14PM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

God bless the good people and have mercy on the others. . . thanks to all of the heroes who stepped up during the event itself. Amazing.

9:19AM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Grazie dell'articolo.

10:05AM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

Title is indeed an apt description of Boston.

7:46PM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Bombers are losers

7:22AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

got them both, I don't think they were acting alone thou.

1:15PM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Thanks Jaime. They are in my thoughts during this tragic time, but I know they will get through this since the best of human nature emerges during the dark times and that's what gives me hope for humanity.

3:49AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

One of them was killed in a shootout with police. The other got away, but they know who it is and it's only a matter of time. Sadly though, they killed a campus policeman before that .

10:21PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

I saw the pictures of the suspects and hope and pray someone will come forward immediately with information about apprehending these demons.

Bless all the families and friends of those who have been injured or who have lost their lives. Bless Boston and the USA. And may we all pray for a safer world.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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