I have been taking photos on a regular basis since 1993, I have lived in the suburbs of Boston my whole life, I have never photographed the Boston Marathon. The closest I ever came to taking photos was in 1996, the 100th anniversary, but I ended up working a retail shift. I have always followed the race online or on TV, I wrote about what it meant to me when the bombing happened in 2013, you can read that blog here if interested, I was in NYC that day. Today I made it a point, I would photograph it.
I went to Ashland then walked around early looking for a good spot to catch the action. The corner of Main and Union, it let me see them all clearly approach, while having spectators in the background and I would be able to stay low and out of the way. And there I stayed for a few hours, taking it all in. Somewhere in between the wheelchairs came Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, with space in front and space behind… he owned the street as he passed by. According to an NBC article you can read here, Sanchez is a retired Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. I did not need the article to know he was running with a purpose, that flag looked heavy, in so many different ways. I was happy to read he inspired many people, on a day of inspiration. Then there was the man with Cerebral Palsy in the wheelchair, backwards, after some google searches I found he is “Backwards” Bill Reilly, 64 years old and he does this a lot, in an article I found from 4 years back they said he was running his 32nd!
Then add everyone else, there is enough inspiration to drive each of us for years. On my healthiest of days I can not run with my bad foot, but I can take photos. I need to do this more, photograph this event, I know there is no shortage of marathon photos, but it felt good to add mine to the mix. There were more moments with the camera down and I was just clapping, cheering for the participants, it seemed like the better thing to do at the time. If you want to see all the photos I took, you can see them by clicking here. Let me know if you know anyone, I would be happy to get them a file if they would like.