Boston Marathon

James Sherard, Guest Writer

“Do you really think we will qualify?”

“Of course we will, we run marathons all the time!” Arthur replied excitedly.

We had just submitted our entries a few days ago, and I couldn’t help but doubt my friend.

“Yeah I guess. But still, we applied for THE Boston Marathon; only the best get accepted!”

“Well it’s good thing we’re the best, isn’t it?” Before I could fire back more of my doubts, Arthur decided he would head back to his dorm room. “I can’t keep you up too long, Lucy. You have that orthotics test in a few days, and I know how much you want to get into prosthetics.” With that, he left the picnic table, got into his 2012 Mustang, and headed back to his dorm, and I was alone. It would probably be best for me to go back to my room too.

*                                  *                                  *

Today is Monday, April 5. Ten days before the big day. We had been accepted to race a few weeks ago. We had been training for months, and Arthur made the decision that we would do our last long-run today before race day.

“How long will we run for?”

“20 miles!” My heart skips a beat.

“Uh, why 20 miles?”

“Because it’s our last day of training before the marathon and we need to push ourselves if we want to do well.”

I know we have to do the 20 mile long run eventually, but I dread the thought of nearly collapsing under exhaustion like I did a few years back. My asthma always gets to me before I can ever complete the 20 mile long run. I hope today has a different outcome. Arthur and I approach the start of the trail we always run on. My heart sinks once we take off.

*                                  *                                  *

“Number 43, ready to race?” questioned Arthur wearing a large “#42” on his chest along with a huge smirk on his face.

“Only as ready as you are.” I mocked while blushing. It was Monday, April 15, our big day. We positioned ourselves pretty close to front of the pack of anxious runners in wave 1. I couldn’t help but smile in jubilation. This would go on as the the most major marathon we have ever run since we ran the NYC Marathon. I remember we almost missed our Delta flight to New York because Arthur and I had fallen asleep at a Starbucks. I remember having such a great time on that trip and during the race.

Abruptly, an alarm went off and our 26 mile journey began. I instinctively remembered my training and paced myself.  Arthur and I were gradually passed by most of the crowd around us. We weren’t lworried about it because we knew that if we keep this same pace going, we will for sure pass a good majority of the runners in the next 10 miles.

We have just passed the Mile Marker Sixteen. I feel great!

“Yo Arthur, you tired yet?”

“Nope, not even breaking a sweat.”

I have never felt this great while running any race of my life. I literally feel like I could run for ages right now! We had just hit marker nineteen. That last training session really came in clutch. We were passing folks left and right. This couldn’t go anymore perfect.

Why must this happen. This horrible feeling I have in my gut. A surge of pure dread came over me. In reality, I knew exactly what was going on. My asthma has found me. It caught up to me. This has happened all the time before in the past, but I had really hoped this wouldn’t come about again for this race. I really felt like this would be the time I rid myself of asthma for good. We had just passed mile maker Twenty-Three. So close.

“Arthur, my asthma is starting to kick in.”

“Oh no, I thought we bested that for good, just do what you used to do about it. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you behind.”

I told him no. I was not going to do the procedure. I was gonna endure this until the very end.

“If you say so, I’ll stay with you as long it takes.”

“No, just go without me. I must face this on my own. I won’t take no for an answer, just go with out me!”

With that, Arthur continued his pace and distance grew between us. I could feel my heart pounding heavily, my body felt heavy and my legs became wobbly. It was almost over though, just a mile left. I just need to maintain this pace. I could still see Arthur, he was near the finish line, I was near the finish line. This would finally be over.

Then a loud boom rang in my ears. Two bombs had exploded and smoke was rising to the skies. I could hear the screams of people who wanted nothing more than to just stay alive. I was about 60ft away from the loud blast. I could see a number of people with arms and legs blown off. I saw a few laying limp on the ground as well. The last thing I remember was seeing Arthur on the ground, crying for help. With that, my asthma took over and I passed out.

*                                  *                                  *

“How does it fit, how does it feel?”

“It’s great Lucy, you’ve really outdone yourself this time.”

Arthur had come by my classroom and was trying on one of my new leg prototypes.

“This is definitely going on my Facebook!” He said merrily as he took a picture of the leg with his new iPhone 5c. This is what I’ve wanted all along. To simply help people in need. People who simply want the feeling of normality back when it was stolen from them. That’s what I’ll do, restore their normality. Starting with Arthur.