Marathon Monday is only five days away in Boston. While the Boston Marathon has been a local tradition since 1897 – making it the world’s oldest annual marathon – this year will be different. It will mark the one year anniversary of the devastating tragedy that occurred at last year’s event, when two bombs were set off at the finish line.
The bombings took the lives of Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, while injuring over 260 others. Lives were lost, limbs were lost, and the city of Boston was shook.
But not for long. The heroism displayed by first responders, runners, and spectators alike in helping victim after victim to safety inspired the city of Boston and inspired the motto: Boston Strong.
Boston Strong is more than just a motto. It’s more than a T-shirt. Boston Strong is a rallying cry for the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts, and the entire United States of America. While so many Americans – big and small – have personified the phrase Boston Strong, few are capable of having the impact of a former New England Patriot.
Enter Tedy Bruschi.
Bruschi was witness to the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago. He was standing on a second-floor balcony at the Lenox Hotel, directly across the street from the finish line. He was watching the race with his wife and three sons, awaiting the finishes of all the members on his team: Tedy’s Team.
Tedy’s Team was created by Bruschi along with the American Stroke Association to raise money for the American Stroke Association and honor past stroke victims. Bruschi suffered a stroke himself in 2005, just weeks after winning his third Super Bowl with the Patriots. He went on to play four more seasons with the team (what a beast). Now Tedy’s Team trains and participates annually in the Boston Marathon.
“This is my team now. I mean, I don’t play for the Patriots anymore. This is my team. My running team,” Bruschi recently said of Tedy’s Team.
Weeks after witnessing last year’s bombings, Tedy’s Team reunited to discuss next year’s marathon. Emotions were still raw, but Bruschi was able to inspire his team like he had done so many times with the Patriots. Bruschi announced he would be running alongside his teammates in this year’s marathon.
It will be Bruschi’s second time running the Boston Marathon, the first being 2012, when he ran with his wife. While it is a wholly different challenge from an NFL game, some of it must come naturally to the former linebacker. As he says, “It’s like you’re in a 26.2-mile stadium.”
Bruschi’s presence at this year’s marathon will undoubtedly inspire Tedy’s Team and the rest of the athletes running the race. #54 was a New England Patriot for 13 years, but he remains an American patriot even in his retirement. And on Monday, he will be on of Boston’s heroic athletes once again. As he says: “This town has four major sports team, but for one day there’s five. And that fifth team is every single person that tries to take on this challenge of the Boston Marathon.”