When the 36,000 state, national and international runners participating in the 118th Boston Marathon take off from the starting line in Hopkinton Monday, 17 of those registered for the race will have a connection to Bourne. Some have qualified on their own, while others are running by virtue of an entry number they received by raising money for a favorite charity.
Jonathan Bourne Public Library director Patrick W. Marshall will be running on an invitational number given to his cousin, Christian G. Williams of Charlestown. Mr. Williams and his partner, Caroline T. Reinsch, both ran last year’s race and both were severely injured in the blasts at the finish line. He lost 50 percent of his blood when the femoral artery in one leg was cut. He also lost much of the skin and tendons in his right hand.
“They did not expect him to make it,” Mr. Marshall said.
Mr. Williams has undergone several surgeries and, at this point, still has a couple of fingers that he cannot move, Mr. Marshall said.
Ms. Reinsch suffered a damaged right thigh and quadriceps muscle and, during treatment, she was given a pregnancy test that came back positive. A follow-up home test showed that she had been pregnant about two weeks before the marathon.
“They don’t think of it as the bombing day. They think of it as the day they became parents,” Mr. Marshall said.
Both have survived and last December they welcomed into the world a baby girl, Marlowe. On Monday, all three will be on Boylston Street cheering Mr. Marshall on to the finish line. The couple and their baby will be joined by Mr. Marshall’s wife, Mr. Williams’s mother and a bunch of friends.
“It will be an emotional day,” Mr. Marshall said.
Michael C. Bonito of Sagamore Beach also ran last year’s marathon. It was his fourth time running Boston. He said that he crossed the finish line about an hour before the blasts and was well out of harm’s way when they went off, having gone to the Boston Athletic Club on Summer Street for a shower. He was on a shuttle bus back to the finish line, where he was to meet up with his wife and two of his three children. Just four minutes from Boylston Street, the bombs went off, he said.
Fortunately, in order to bide their time while Mr. Bonito was at the athletic club, his wife and children left their position near the finish line to get ice cream on Newbury Street, he said. He said that he had a hunch his family had moved, but with cellphone service cut off, he spent an anxious hour trying to locate them. He said that when cell service was finally restored, a friend texted him where he could meet up with his family. They immediately went to their car and drove home to Sagamore Beach.
“Heading home, I had never seen more police and rescue driving up Route 3, from all over the South Shore and Cape Cod,” he said.
Mr. Bonito said that his initial reaction to the bombings was anger.
“Lives and limbs were stolen, and the feeling of public safety was robbed,” he said.
A year later, the 43-year-old Bourne High School graduate said there is a great feeling of civic pride that motivated people to come together as a community and as a nation, he said.
“It’s so much bigger than Boston. It’s about civic pride and resilience,” he said.
Mark K. Abair, also of Sagamore Beach, ran the Boston Marathon in 2011, but did not run last year. A torn tendon in an ankle kept the 35-year-old out of the race. Mr. Abair said that the tendon is finally healed and he is ready for Boston this year. Just like Mr. Bonito, Mr. Abair has no reservations or fears about taking part in this year’s event. Mr. Abair said he is running on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and specifically for a friend of his, Julie S. Rando who currently lives in Lake Mary, Florida, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
He said that he is “really excited about the race” and his only concern is that his ankle holds up through to the finish line.
“The security and everything they’re doing, it’s more than safe. You can’t let it take over your life,” he said.
Mr. Abair said that he was supposed to be a volunteer at last year’s Boston Marathon but he became sick and had to go to the emergency room. Just as he was being released, he heard of the bombings from an ER nurse who said that her daughter had been at the finish line. He said it was not until later that night that he finally connected with the leukemia society’s coordinator who told him that all their runners were okay.
“It was a pretty awful afternoon trying to make sure everyone was safe,” he said.
Mr. Abair said that he draws inspiration from blood cancer patients who continue to train for a marathon. He said that looking back on last year, the focus should be on the day and the victims, and not on the people who did the bombing.
“Take the day back and take the event back for runners and the spectators,” he said.
Air Force First Lieutenant Galon L. Barlow, stationed at Joint Base Cape Cod, said that he did not qualify for the Boston Marathon, but he will be running on a number that he received from the Massachusetts National Guard. Mr. Barlow, the son of former Bourne selectman and current board of health member Galon (Skip) Barlow, said he is running to show his support for the victims of last year’s devastation. The 39-year-old said that he also wants to allay the fears of his 8-year-old daughter, Leah. She is nervous after what happened a year ago, he said.
“I tell her, ‘It’s going to be okay, it will be fun,’” he said.
Mr. Barlow said that he was home with his family last year on Marathon Monday. He said that looking back, everyone was shocked in the immediate aftermath of the blasts. A year later, it is still viewed as an awful tragedy, but he is looking forward to this year’s event.
“We’re going to have a lot of people running for a lot of different reasons. It will be a show of support for Boston,” he said.