, Newburyport, MA


April 15, 2014


On anniversary of bombing, runners look to make a statement

NEWBURYPORT — Jessica Su had just completed the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Su, a Newburyport resident and an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was with her family and some friends a couple of blocks away, walking to the Back Bay train station, when the explosions rang out across the city.

“The teenager who was with us said it sounded like a bomb, and it was the eeriest thing because all of the adults who were there were thinking she was right, but we all were like ‘oh, it was probably like a celebratory cannon,’” Su said. “But then we heard another one, and at that point we all knew we had to leave.”

Su said she and her family were able to catch the last train out of Boston before the T was shut down, and by the time they got off, all they could hear were sirens and the whirling rotors of a helicopter hovering overhead. Su said the experience was terrifying, especially for her children, and it only added to the anxiety she was feeling due to the fact that she was two months pregnant.

One year later, the memory of that day still lingers clearly in Su’s mind, but the emotions that seized her and everyone else — terror, confusion, sadness — have been replaced by a distinct determination. Next Monday, the self-described “pregnant running lady” will be one of thousands of runners who are returning to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, and she said that this time it’s not about individual glory, but to send a message that Boston can’t be defeated by hate.

“It’s about the people of Boston and standing up to hatred and saying we’re not going to let things like this happen,” Su said. “And to commemorate last year and celebrate how Boston became victorious over this.”

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