Updated: 29-Apr-2013
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FCMD personnel participates in Boston marathon

Written and pictures by MSG (ESP A) Roberto Romero

Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Here I was again at 10 o’clock in the morning on the 15th of April, standing behind the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Second time in a row but this time the weather was perfect. No rain, mild temperatures and almost no wind… nothing like last year, when we were running in 30° C. Boston is the oldest marathon in the world (this year was the 117th edition) and the only one that requires qualifying times according to your age group… that’s an extra motivation for a runner!!!

The Marathon is always on Patriot’s Day, the 3rd Monday in April. It is a holiday in Massachusetts, a day to commemorate the battles of Lexington and Concorde during the American Revolutionary War. The course goes through the cities of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston in Massachusetts. Pretty much this is what you will find if you google it… but it is way more than that. Bostonians always refer to it as “Marathon Monday” and the whole city and most of the State of Boston support the event and cheer the participants, making it the most amazing popular sports event. I’ve never seen such terrific spectators’ involvement in any other place before. People not only cheer you on and encourage you, but they shout out your name loud and clear (if they can see it written on your bib, of course) and they literally push you forward.  They hold funny signs, they offer you food and drinks (in addition to the ones that you find at the aid stations every couple of miles which is more than enough). I had a smile on my face all the way to the finish line!!!

It is difficult to believe if you haven’t been there. Last year I had a blast and even though the weather conditions were so bad I promised myself that I had to come back, and have another chance at this awesome experience. That’s why I ran again this year. The race went OK and I finished in 3 hours 4 minutes, which is not bad for a 43-year-old guy like me!

And everything was perfect… until 14:50 in the afternoon.

The rest is history. I was there and I wish it wasn’t true. But it was. You all know what happened next and how bad it was. You all know the terrible scar Boston will have forever. You all know about the victims and the terrorists. You all know the extraordinary job the emergency services and the first responders did and how fast the Federal Agencies and the police got the terrorists. The next two days I stayed in Boston and I witnessed the aftermath of the attack. I also witnessed how strong and determined Bostonians are. They are still devoted to the Marathon no matter what… now, more than ever.

One week later I’m back home and getting ready to run the Madrid Marathon. Just for fun, as usual. A lot of people ask me about Boston and the only thing I can say is: “Well, next year I’ll be there again. In Hopkinton, you know, at 10:00 in the morning on the third Monday in April… you bet!”