It is hard to believe that less than 3 weeks ago, one of Boston’s favorite and most famous days of the year, Marathon Monday, turned from a celebration into a tragedy. I vividly remember one of my friends frantically yelling to turn on the TV. The 20 of us huddled around in the common room to see the news stations replay the footage of the bombing. All of us were silent and I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I grabbed my phone and desperately tried to contact all of my friends who were running the marathon. At the same time, I was receiving messages and texts from family and friends concerned about my own safety.
When all of the chaos slowly began to die down, people immediately started to create support groups and events. Love and support were sent from places all around the world and we were able to witness numerous acts of kindness within the Boston community, one being “The Last 5” event.
The Last 5, an event created by Boston College sophomores Michael Padulsky and Dani Cole, was a way to commemorate the victims and the marathon runners. Both Padulsky and Cole were part of the marathon, but were stopped before the finish line due to the bombings. Like the countless other runners, they were devastated for the victims and those who were killed. Padulsky and Cole were also disappointed that they could not finish the race they had been training for over the past few months.
The two sophomores came to the conclusion that they needed some form of closure and came up with the event that started a craze on the Internet. A Facebook event page, The Last 5, that was intended for a few hundred friends to attend soon grew to about 18,000 confirmed attendees.
The plan was to start the walk from Boston College to the finish line of the marathon in honor of the victims and the runners who never got to finish the race. However, due to safety and security reasons, the route of the walk was changed to start from the Mods and around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir a couple of times. Not only was the route altered, but the date of the event was changed to this Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m.
Although there have been many complaints and much criticism about the altered route, Padulsky said that they had no choice but to change the marathon. He explained, “We are having it around the Res because if we were to go into Boston, it would not be possible for a couple of months, as it would need permits from several cities, street closures, and would be too taxing for the Boston police when they have been working so hard in the recent weeks. We wanted to respect their time and efforts so we decided to capture the energy behind this walk by making it closer to the BC community.”
I think that’s what matters: not where we walk or how we finish the last five miles of the marathon, but the spirit and intentions that are captured by this event. The fact that two Boston College students were able to come up with an idea like this to remember those who never finished the race, those who were killed, and the families affected by the tragedy is amazing. The fact that there are over 18,000 people who agreed to walk is mind-blowing. The fact that so many people from around the country and the world were able to show their love and support is beyond heart-warming.