Back to Boston: Tri-State Runner Hopes to Find Healing After 2013 Bombings

Published 04/15 2014 05:27PM

Updated 04/15 2014 06:39PM

She crossed the finish line that day only to watch many run away from it. It's been 365 days since the bombings in Boston. In six days however, many Tri-Staters will be back.

Among the many Tri-Staters competing in this year's Boston Marathon will be Michelle Walker of Newburgh. In 2013, she watched the tragedy unfold from her hotel window. A year later, Walker said running in this year's Boston Marathon will be so much more than just crossing the finish line.

"To be honest, I suppressed it. I couldn't think about it," Walker said as she recalled the twin bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds more. "I've been unable to watch the coverage and the footage of what happened last year. I was there. I was staying right there at the finish line and I saw the aftermath and the chaos unfold right in front of my eyes."

"I'll never forget it. I really feel the need to finish some unfinished business."

It was unavoidable. After spending more than five years, logging 200 miles a month, she qualified for the iconic race.

It was her first Boston Marathon.

"I almost would chose to step into the place of that little boy that was killed," Walker said. "I just cannot fathom that loss -- as a mother of six -- to lose a child who was there to support his father as he was running."

Walker has kept on running for them, for her, for the city of Boston. Living life by the mile, Walker has competed in marathons in all 50 states and five continents. She plans on running in a marathon in Africa this June.

All in all, Walker has crossed 86 finish lines. She won't miss number 87.

"I want to show support for Boston, that amazing community," Walker said. "We as runners are banding together and showing that we are resilient and unstoppable. No question, I want to be there for this event.

"For me, it's almost as if the race was not finished.

Back to Boston she will go. During her 26.2 mile run, she hopes to find healing for her fellow runners, for a city and for herself.

That healing can only come one way... by running for it.

"I'm not a crier. I rarely cry," Walker said. "But I have a feeling that there will be some tears on Monday."

Walker will leave Sunday morning and plans on staying at the same hotel she did in 2013. Judging by the number of emails she's received from marathon organizers, Walker said security will be extra tight.


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