Meri Hoban graduated with a history degree from Framingham State in 2012. She got involved in running as a freshman in high school and ran on the FSU Cross Country team. She also runs frequently in competitive road races. She ran her first Boston Marathon last year. She was unable to qualify for the 2015 Marathon. Despite the setback, she is training to qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon. She plans on doing so by running in either the Chicago Marathon or Bay State Marathon in the fall and will need a time of 3:35:00. She will be running in the Boston Athletic Association 5K on April 9, in which 10,000 people are expected to participate. She will also be running in the One Run for Boston on April 13. The One Run is a nationwide relay that raises money for the Boston One Fund. She said that after last year’s Marathon, she runs a significant amount more than she used to and that after last year, she considers running a gift. Below is Meri’s first-hand account of the 117th Boston Marathon:
“I remember it being a very gorgeous day with perfect weather conditions for running. I was having issues with my ankles during the final couple of weeks leading up to the Marathon, so I already knew it wouldn’t be my best performance. I planned on running it in around four hours.
Luckily, I really started to feel the pain at about the 10-mile mark and had to slow down significantly. I was on my 24th mile when the bombs went off. I got a call from my dad who was on the far end of Boylston Street – not near the finish line – immediately after it happened. He told me there was an explosion, but I really didn’t know how serious it was.
Initially, I thought that someone must have lit off fireworks at the finish line. I quickly realized that it must have been much more serious than I thought, because the cops had shut down the Marathon road. I was trying to meet up with my family in Boston, but no one was allowed to go any further than where I was. Everyone around me was on the phone trying to get in contact with their friends and family, but they eventually shut down the cell phone services.
My phone had died, so I lost contact with everybody. I knew something must have gone terribly wrong because I soon saw marathon finishers with their medals and blankets walking up the street, in the opposite direction of the finish line. Some of them were crying. At that point, I was really helpless and didn’t know what to do. I was on a road, stranded, with an injured ankle and no working cell phone. Fortunately, I was in front of an apartment complex and the residents were letting people in their homes. Someone came up to me and offered to charge my cell phone. I went into the apartment and everyone was offering me clothes and water. They even offered me their laptops so I could update my social media, which at that point was my only means of communicating with anybody. I remember they had the television on with all of the uncensored news coverage. I will never forget that. It was very horrifying. A person in the apartment came outside with me to find a cab. Everyone I knew eventually made it home safe. Once I came home, I watched the news all night in disbelief. It is so saddening how a perfect day could end in such tragedy. I still can’t wrap my head around it.
It was a scary and tragic day, but I think we all need to move forward and show the world that the terrorists will not win. The events did have a huge impact on me, though. It made me realize how precious life is. I don’t sweat the small stuff as much as I used to. When I am having a bad day, I often tell myself that I am lucky to be alive and healthy. I think of the victims and their families a lot. I think about how easily that could have been me, and how life can change in an instant. I cherish things that I once took for granted.”