With only a few days to go until the 2014 Boston Marathon, I was asked to share my thoughts about the upcoming Boston Marathon with all of you. I have to be honest here: I am a way better runner than writer – but the Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the volunteers and many of the participants are very close to my heart, so I agreed.
To understand why I care so much about this event, I need to tell you a bit about myself. I started my running career in the 7th grade. Well, I guess you really couldn’t call it a career back then, but it quickly became a passion. Through my love of running, I attended and graduated from college. With the support of a global sports brand, adidas, I was able to pursue my dream of becoming one of the best athletes in the world. My best year was 1992 when I represented my country at the Olympic Games in Barcelona and ended the year ranked 15th globally. I traveled the world, participated in some of the greatest track and field stadiums, but most importantly, met some incredible people. Today, many of them work for the Boston Athletic Association, volunteer at the many events they put on and continue as participants in the marathon.
I started working for adidas close to 10 years ago. My first role was Event Marketing Coordinator, for basketball… Well, I’m a runner not a basketball player, but I made the best of it. After all, this was an opportunity to work for a major sports brand! Fortunately, after my first year, I was given the opportunity to coordinate, manage and execute the Expo and other activations surrounding the Boston Marathon. Of course, the relationship between adidas and the Boston Athletic Association spans for much longer than I have been around, but I felt like there was a place for me there.
2013 Boston Marathon: a year I will never forget
2013… What can I say? Certainly a year I will never forget… When the first bomb exploded, all I could say to myself is, “this cannot be happening”. So much is running through your mind and you start to realize this is real. Without a second thought, all of us from adidas came together. First thing was to account for everyone working… That wasn’t easy because phone lines were tied up making it difficult to communicate but we managed to get it done. Many employees were scheduled to fly back to their homes that afternoon or the next day but I asked for permission to stay. I couldn’t leave… I didn’t feel right leaving until I knew my friends at the BAA were all okay. They had the difficult task of sorting through things and trying to make sense of it all. I felt that I needed to support my friends and didn’t care what the tasks would be, just wanted to help. So I did… We talked, we cried, we supported each other…
Support from the adidas family for the BAA and One Fund Boston was overwhelming. Not because adidas is a long-standing partner of the BAA, but because everyone cared, because this tragedy affected us all in some way, and because it was the right thing to do. Moving on… I’m excited for the 2014 Boston Marathon. This prestigious race enters its 118th year. Once again, I will be there in full support. This year, I’m not participating in the actual race and many of you reading this aren’t either. But you can be there in spirit and run your own: #weallrunboston, no matter where you run or how far.