One year ago today, I was caught in the middle of tragedy when I covered Marathon Monday for my photojournalism class. I never expected to find myself less than a mile away from two explosions, worrying for my classmates and the runners I had just spent my day tracking to the finish line.
One year ago today, I was faced with the hardest decision of my (short!) journalistic career. A decision that some professionals haven’t even been faced with thus far. One year later, I’m proud to say I pushed through emotion to cover an event that will go down in history.
After my class project on the marathon ended, I shoved my work out of my mind. I had no desire to relive the events of such a challenging day. So today, I’m sharing my Boston Marathon 2013 photos for the first time.
For class, I was part of a group staggered throughout the race to cover 2 specific runners running for Bottom Line, a charity here in Boston. We even photographed our runners as they prepared for the race.
One of our runners, Michelle, at a pasta dinner the weekend before the marathon.
I spent my morning at Boston College’s Heartbreak Hill, watching the elite runners pass by and tracking my subjects, Michelle and Ginnie. Tatyana McFadden, the Women’s top Wheel chair division finisher, races down Heartbreak Hill.Renee Killian, waits for her dad, Peter, to run by at the Bottom of Heartbreak Hill.A group of elite runners, from left to right, Kara Goucher, Sharon Cherop, Akemi Oaska, Tirfi Tsegaye, Meseret Hailu, Rita Jeptoo, and Shalane Flanagan run down Heartbreak Hill. Jeptoo finished as the top Woman overall, Flanagan was the top American Woman, and the fourth Woman.Svetlana Pretot, 41, an elite runner from France, shows off for the crowd at Heartbreak Hill.Gina Slaby, a Navy lieutenant turned marathon runner passes by a group of soldiers at Heartbreak Hill.A group of elite runners, from left to right, Dickson Chumba, Gebremariam, Gebregziabher, Levy Matebo, Lelisa Desisa, and Michah Kogo at Heartbreak Hill. In the men’s overall division, Desisa finished first, Kogo second, and Gebregziabher third.Jason Hartmann, the top American man to finish the Boston Marathon and fourthmanoverall, runspast a group of U.S. Armysoldiers at Heartbreak Hill.Gene Carter, pushes Paul Appleby, who has cerebral palsey down Heartbreak Hill. They are one of four wheelchair-push teams who ran in the marathon.Laurie Copeland is joined by a group of cheering Boston College students at Heartbreak Hill. This photo, more than any other, represents the cheerful mood of my morning. After Michelle passed me at Heartbreak Hill (mile 21), I snapped the above photo, I left to head to the finish line.
When the train I was on got to Kenmore Square, we were evacuated with no explanation. I ran towards the finish line, hoping to photograph Michelle. Instead, I found myself inside a pack of runners who had been stopped less than a mile away from Copley Square. As runners stopped by mile 25 waited to hear news about the bombing and find their family and friends, many found whatever they could to keep them warm.After the runners who didn’t finish the race started leaving, I headed back to Kenmore Square. Although I wasn’t able to connect with either of my runners, I contacted Ginnie’s boyfriend. He told me he was meeting her outside UNO’s and I was lucky to arrive before she did to capture this moment.
Ultimately, neither of my runners were able to finish the marathon. But both were safe and reunited with their families.
All photos (c) Rebecca Shinners