Travis Sinke is a Fit Specialist at New Balance Milwaukee in Brookfield. He is also a long distance runner who completed his first Boston Marathon before the tragic events unfolded last year. Like Travis, our entire Stan’s and New Balance Milwaukee team is thinking of and praying for the victims, survivors, families and friends affected by last year’s violence. We are proud of Travis and all of Boston.
Last year I competed in the 117th Boston Marathon. As a long distance runner, the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of my sport, and it is where every marathoner strives to get.
I was lucky enough to qualify the previous year in only my second marathon. I traveled to Boston with my dad, who came to watch me run.
The morning of the marathon was a perfect day for a race; it was cool and sunny with almost no wind. As I walked to the start line, I remember thinking you could not ask for a better day to run a marathon.
Boston was my third marathon. I was not in my best shape, so I decided to run it much more conservatively, rather than run hard like I had done at my previous two marathons. This allowed me to really soak in the atmosphere of the race.
The first few miles in winding country roads and through small towns were unlike any race I had run before. The fans lining the course were the best part of the whole race for me; the half mile of screaming women at Wellesley College and the rowdy students at Boston College gave me just the shots of adrenaline I needed when I was starting to feel the pain. Then, seeing my dad out on the course cheering me on was incredible.
Finishing on Boylston St. was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I finished in 3:45, which may have been slow for me, but I was thrilled. I found my dad in the reunion area and tried to stretch out. After about 45 minutes, I finally felt like I could move again, so we started to head for our hotel.
That’s when the first explosion happened. I was only a block and a half away, so I could hear it clearly but could not discern what had made the noise. Then came another loud noise. Everyone in our area was unsure of what happened, so we all just kept walking. It wasn’t until we got to the next intersection that I could tell something was wrong. People were streaming up from the finish area, crying and screaming. Then, moments later, police cars started flying down the street towards the course. I checked Twitter on my phone until Runners World finally posted that there had been two explosions near the finish.
My dad and I made our way back to our hotel, a journey which was hampered by the subway having been shut down. When we finally arrived, I spent the rest of the day watching the events unfold on TV and letting my friends and family know I was OK.
I feel mostly sad that someone ruined such a picturesque day of sport and community with such unnecessary violence, and I feel a great sense of pride when I see how the city of Boston and the running community have rebounded stronger than ever. I still look back at that race as one of the best moments of my running life despite the events that happened. I wear my Boston Marathon medal proudly and cannot wait to return and run the race again.