I will not let cowards prevail over what turned out to be my most complete marathon yet. – Ty Godwin (April 15, 2013)

At the onset of my running career (wouldn’t that be great if it was a career?) at the age of 40, I had never run before in my life. There was no cross-country or track team for me growing up. In fact, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in Junior High and would come in “dead last” in P.E. class when we would have to run around the baseball field.

Going through some major life changes at the age of 40, I took up running, mainly running for health reasons, doing an occasional 5k. I didn’t attempt a marathon until after my wife bought me Hal Higdon’s book, and I decided to race the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in 2007. I didn’t know any better and decided I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Part ambition and part naivety.

I did not qualify at San Diego, nor later at the Chicago Marathon, where I suffered a stress fracture. In fact, it took three more marathons before I would qualify in Sacramento in 2009. I started my blog SeekingBostonMarathon after Chicago to hold myself accountable to the internet to qualify.

Chicago Marathon

I cried after my first marathon, and cried when I qualified at the California International Marathon. Quite honestly, the journey and getting my first BQ was more rewarding than my first Boston Marathon in 2010. I was a bit awestruck, but enjoyed every minute of it.

Training on Boylston Street, the day before…
Racing on Boylston, the day of…

I have many fond memories of my first Boston, but my most fond experience in terms of the race itself was in 2013. I was fortunate to have finished 50 minutes before tragedy struck on Boylston, but was only a mere block and a half away when my wife and I heard the first blast.

Never having heard a bomb go off, we didn’t know what it was. The second blast was clearly further away, as it was slightly muffled compared to the first. It was not for another 20-30 minutes at the nearby Loews Hotel where bits of news started to flow in. Very quickly, phones were jammed and we couldn’t reach family back home who were obviously wondering if we were impacted. I’d learn later my daughter’s friend at high school asked her if I was okay. She didn’t know what had happened yet, and was panicked for several hours before we could connect and tell her I was okay.

The two days in Boston after the race were a blur as hospitals were packed, the military moved in, and athletes were numb. Once we got back home, I found it difficult to cope with what happened and what could have happened. Time healed and I was finally able to revel in my accomplishments for that day, as I was not going to let cowards prevail over my freedom and what turned out to be my most complete marathon yet. It was not a PR, but it was the first time I did not “bonk” and felt energy after mile twenty. It was exhilarating. I finished with a time of 3:22:27 which qualified me for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I have no hesitations about racing this year and expect it to be another special race.

Ty Godwin
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

For more personal accounts of the 2013 Boston marathon, click here.

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