Shandi Kano // Be Bold from Nate Gunn on Vimeo.

The Boston Marathon in 2013 drastically changed me. It woke me up and forced me to completely reset my life. The things I learned while healing still effect me today, both in negative and positive ways. If you were there, too, you probably know what I mean.

One year after the race in 2013, I went back. At mile 25 I met a friend who handed me 3 roses.

I finished the race, a rose for Li, a rose for Krystal and a rose for Martin. 

I mostly gave up running on the roads after that and hid out in the mountains of my new home. I focused on happiness, not times and splits and heart rates and impressing other people- a thing I admittedly hate about runners. It’s served me well, I felt I reclaimed running, fell in love all over again and became stable enough to race in those mountains. Hell, I even won one.

Yet, every fall there’s a part of me that aches for a harder surface, the even pace, the light feet. There hasn’t been a November I don’t wish I was in New York on the month’s first Sunday- the place marathoning started for me.

So this year I’m going back to complete the story, nothing to prove but not without purpose. For years after the bombings, I fought illnesses I feared might last my lifetime. Deep, internal, physiological trauma as well as PTSD. Challenges that have taught me about the real purpose of this story – taking nothing for granted and giving back. 

Boston forever changed me, but Boston forever took others.

Martin Richard is the 8 year boy who held the “peace” sign. It said, “Peace. No more hurting people.” Something I think we all wish there was more of right now.

I’m proud to wear the @team_MR8 bib in New York this year and proud to spread the message of a young boy and a charity that has been on my mind for 5 years. Kindness, inclusion and peace…for others, our world and within ourselves. For me, going back brings the peace I’ve sought after to a full circle.

Run for Martin with me, spread peace and kindness with me, and please, please, consider a donation to this truly loving charity.”

Originally posted on Crowd Rise where you can also make your donation.