Three am has a strange feeling. It's slightly less strange when you're not alone, but still odd nonetheless. Tragedy often brings people together and last evening, I found myself capturing a run that traveled 9.5 miles from The Rite Aid parking lot in Northford to the Liberty Bank in Durham. The run was a segment of a much longer collaborative effort of runners making their way from California to Boston. They were running, "One Run For Boston" to honor the spirit and raise money for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing back in April.
When I told Michael, Patch's editor that I would consider covering the event, I thought I would be in bed by midnight. But running three hours behind, we all became true night owls. I had mentioned the run to my son Peter and like a typical 11 year old, he enthusiastically responded to the proposition by saying, "challenge accepted".
When you are young, true recognition of childhood memories come into play in early adolescence. Your life begins to shape into something based on these experiences. So at 3am, a boy's memories were being shaped in the pitch black that was route 17. He molded them them with fellow runners who came from near and far to share the experience. He traveled by the homes of many of his friends who were sleeping in their beds. He was living for the moment, a hot and sticky one that summer loves to boast.
He made quick friends out of total strangers. Among them was a large group from the Essex area and local runner Andy Mieman, all running Boston Strong. Speaking of strong, they were led by Durham Director of EMT, Francis Willett and Fire Chief, Robert Chadd who was accompanied by his wife Heather Chadd. Also on the cheer and safety crew were members from Durham's EMT and Fire that included: Chief of services, Thomas Whimler, TJ Finley, Jennifer Kinzel, Lou Brockett, Anthony, De Marinis, Nate Ravid, Sue Wimler and Scott Wright. Also helping were State Troopers from Troop F under the direction of Sarget Sal Calvo.(Apologies to anyone I missed).
Together, they would run along a very darkened section of road that had few turns and fewer views in the darkness. Is this the place that Dr. Seuss talks about in his storied tale, "Oh The Places You'll Go"? They would see few lit landmarks that included Time Out Tavern, but only the locals knew they were nearing the finish as they ran past The Durham Dari Serv around 3:30 am. In the end, the group successfully handed off the Baton to the Middletown crew. The baton will make its way to Boston sometime on Sunday due to the sweat and energy of those linked tother in this effort since June 7.
Upon Entering Strong school in September surely Peter will divulge, "What I did this summer", in the usual obligatory essay. A strong boy will enter Strong school. We find our memories in the our greatest of efforts, this time, from one one runner to another all sharing a united goal. One that say's, "Boston Strong".