Now that Marathon Day 2014 is behind us, our team members have been taking time to reflect on the day and the experience. And by the way, we’ve raised more than $60,000 for the scholarship with your help! A huge thank you to all of our supporters.
What a day! By far, the best day of my life! Having a great day doesn’t change anything about what happened last year … but it was a much needed reminder of how wonderful Marathon Monday can be! I will say that I was surprised going into that morning, that nerves never came to the surface. I arrived at Hopkinton prepared and ready to be part of the group that took back the finish line! The distance and hills were nothing compared to the love and support that was felt throughout the entire 26.2 miles. Friends, family and complete strangers all came together to make sure that we all made it safely back to Boylston Street … and we did just that! Crossing that finish line, holding hands with Jenn and Rob, is a moment in time that I will never forget.
Jenn, Caitlyn, and Rob
I never thought 3 and a half months ago that I would ever be able to finish a mile never mind a marathon, but sitting here a little over a week after and I’m still truly happy and proud of myself and all Team Collier Strong runners for what we accomplished. Physically the day was taxing enough with the heat wave that came through since we all trained in the arctic, but emotionally it was a good relief to be out there running with people that Sean may have known or who were influenced by him in some way. Running past countless signs, posters, pictures and tributes to Sean was such a moving memory of his life and importance of the Marathon and him from the whole week that definitely pushed me along the way. To my fiancée Julie and all Sean’s friends and my friends that came out to cheer us on and pose for some pictures, I just want to thank as well. They’ve been there from the start and I was happy to finish it with them. Two best parts of the race for me were being able to spend a moment with everyone at the start, thanking them for their time and sacrifices over the past few months, and then being able run down Boylston waving to my hysterically cheering family while crossing the finish line with my good friend Caitlyn and my sister Jenn. Those are two lasting heartfelt memories and I’m glad I got to experience it. So will I run the Boston Marathon again, I’m not sure, but I know I enjoyed this journey and I’m thankful for the opportunity to experience something I’ve never done before. I know it’s something Sean would have done and it’s special we got to share that one last time.
Rob and his fiancée Julie
Jenn and Rob showing off their medals at the end of the race
Rachel recently suffered a stress fracture that prevented her from running, but she was still there on Marathon Day cheering us on! We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to racing with her soon.
I just want to say that despite the fact that I didn’t get to run on race day, the past few months have been a one in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve met some great new friends through Team Collier Strong and it was an honor to be part of this team. I went into Boston on MarathonMonday to cheer our team on. With my bib, I was able to get through security & up to the barricades on the corner of Hereford & Boylston St, about a 1/2 mile from the finish line. I was overwhelmed w/emotion. Within the first 10 minutes of standing there, I saw at least 4 people who couldn’t take another step – their bodies just gave out. But, to see perfect strangers stop running themselves & find the energy to try and carry or assist these runners for the last 1/2 mile was incredible. Also, the cheering never subsided – it went on for hours – for the entire sea of runners. It was an amazing day to be a part of. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity!***
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. An appropriate marathon to run as a satellite member of Team Collier Strong as the marathon is run in remembrance of the 168 lives lost in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. I imagine the feeling at the start was similar to that in Boston this year as we started directly in front of the Oklahoma City Memorial and took a moment to remember those who perished and those who were forever changed by a senseless act of violence. After the events of last year’s Boston Marathon, I wanted more than ever to run a qualifying marathon time so that I could join the rest of the running world in saying “we are not afraid and we will continue to triumph over fear.” Having only run one marathon prior to this BQ attempt, I knew it was ambitious to try and break 3 hours and 5 minutes; especially since my one and only other marathon was completed in 4 hours and 52 minutes. Still, I knew I was far better trained this time around and my recent race results suggested that running a 3 hour marathon was very real possibility. After a 2 hour weather delay, we took to the line and I settled right into my stride, running 6:45/mile pace for the first 15 miles. Over the next few miles, the rain clouds gave way to a brutal sun and an even more challenging headwind. At mile 20, I ran my first mile over 7 minutes and less than a mile later I was doing everything in my power just to continue putting one foot in front of the next. Even when I saw that running a Boston qualifying time was out of reach, I refused to walk for any portion of the race, even though I felt my legs would cave underneath me if I didn’t. In the end, I am very proud of the 3:07:38 marathon I ran on Sunday and am confident that I will run a Boston qualifier between now and the September deadline. I am extremely honored to have been a part of Team Collier Strong and am proud of everyone involved in this noble effort to honor such an incredible individual. Sean will be missed, but never forgotten.
Marathon day lived up to and exceeded all of my expectations! The race itself exceeded my expectations of how bad my body could feel (particularly miles 22-25), but made it to the finish line and was blown away by all of the raucous support along the whole race course! I really enjoyed seeing MIT Kappa Sigma volunteering in Hopkinton, Travis in Wellesley, Cheryl and Kerri around mile 14, the Matts family at mile 17, and many of my friends near the finish. I’d like to give a big big thank you to them, and everyone who came out to support Team Collier Strong! Looking back, I feel privileged to have been given the chance to be a part of Team Collier Strong, and am very thankful to have gotten the chance to get to know all of the team members.
As I reflect on Marathon day, I find myself grateful for the friendships made, humility earned, and the experience of running to honor the life of Sean A. Collier. I ran with pride and resolve knowing that the team jersey I wore honored the memory of a great young man. In my mind, that day was absolutely perfect. A special thank you to Sean’s family, my amazing teammates, my fiancé Brian, our sponsors and donors, the SOsponsored team, and all those who helped make marathon day an incredible day.
Jamie and Ian at mile 25 (Photo by Andrew Schlaepfer)
Just want to start off by thanking Sgt Sullivan, Jenn, Rob and the entire Collier Strong Team for having the faith in me to run for Sean. This experience was like no other.When I started this training journey, there were days that I just wanted to quit. It was freezing cold, raining, hailing, sleeting or snowing on almost ALL of our training runs. But, once we were on the open road, our thoughts were on Sean and all the victims/survivors of last years Marathon. Because I had already been training for numerous 1/2 marathons, the longer runs were not so bad…until we hit 18 miles…can I tell you that was tough…but our motto was “WE GOT THIS”…and we did! Marathon Monday was amazing from start to finish, and I got to do it with the BEST running partner ever! We had so many laughs that day, from trying to figure out how to put in our T-pass (to only find out it was free), to riding the T (and trying to remember which stop to get off on)…but once we hit the Boston Common, there was no turning back! From waiting for the bus and having Jenn yell “get on the grass” …to Jamie and her fancy tricks on the bus! But it wasnt until we got to the start line that the emotions came! It was one of the hardest, yet most amazing experiences I have ever been part of. Seeing that “WE ARE BOSTON STRONG!”…I may have started the Marathon, but the crowd got me to finish!Thank you to my family and my friends who supported me EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!Hey Boston…I’ll see you next year!
I am humbled and greatly appreciative to have been afforded this wonderful opportunity to run in honor of Sean. I am also extremely grateful to the Rogers/Collier Family and to Team Collier Strong for all the enthusiasm and the extraordinary effort that went into the marathon, and which made it a success enjoyed by all. My sincerest hope is that everybody fulfilled happily achieved their goal and had fun. In addition, and more so, I am hopeful that the goal of Team Collier Strong will be accomplished. I hope everybody had the run of their lives!
Uncle Jim, Nora, Declan, and John’s wife Becky
John, Nora, and Colm
I can not be more happier and more proud that I was given this opportunity to fund raise and run the Boston Marathon for Team Collier Strong. The whole experience was simply amazing. To feel the love and support from so many people, tells me that not only were people behind me, but they also were touched by Sean’s story. The marathon itself, was my very first. It is funny because people will say, “how did it go? did you finish?” –I never even gave not finishing a thought. I KNEW, no matter what I would push it to the limit in honor of a fallen police officer who will never get the chance to do this. It was HOT! Especially when you are used to training in the freezing cold- but Melissa and I stuck together. I don’t even really recall where exactly “HeartBreak Hill’ was– but the hill wasn’t so bad because we trained on the hilly roads of Dracut/Tyngsboro! It wasn’t easy in the heat, the last 3 miles I really really struggled- but Melissa and I finished in 4:40.
I am so grateful to Jenn, Rob and everyone else for welcoming us Tyngsboro girls into the Collier Strong team! I am forever thankful Sgt Sullivan for recommending us to this team and for all his help and support. I just can’t believe that the training and fundraising is over for now. I enjoyed every single moment of it. It truly was an amazing honor.