Skip to main content

Pro marathoner: I'll run Boston again

By Sheri Piers, Special to CNN
updated 5:41 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Flowers are left on Newbury Street, a few blocks from where two explosions struck the Boston Marathon finish line.
Flowers are left on Newbury Street, a few blocks from where two explosions struck the Boston Marathon finish line.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sheri Piers, a pro runner, ran the Boston Marathon on Monday for her eighth time
  • Piers says we can't let this tragedy taint the marathon or let whoever did it win
  • Piers feels no sense of accomplishment; she says most runners want to forget race
  • Piers will run the Boston race again but will always remember what happened

Editor's note: Sheri Piers is a professional runner who came in as the second master's finisher and 20th woman overall in Monday's Boston Marathon. Last year, she was 10th overall and the first American to cross the finish line. She is a nurse practitioner and lives in Falmouth, Maine.

(CNN) -- I ran my eighth Boston Marathon on Monday, the day the bombs went off. We cannot let this terrible tragedy taint this amazing international event or let whoever was behind this evil act win. That's why I will run it again.

Marathoners are tough-minded and can endure discomfort for long periods of time. They enjoy running to push themselves and often run with others and make friends along the way. Some are highly competitive, like me, and enjoy the long, hard journey to get into marathon shape before the race.

Sheri Piers
Sheri Piers
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



After all that training, the Boston Marathon is usually a very happy day that results in a joyous sense of accomplishment. But today, most runners are probably feeling as I do: disgusted, saddened, angry and depressed.

The race feels surreal, almost as if it didn't happen, and as if a whole lot of training and hard work amounted to nothing. I don't think one participant can walk away from that marathon and feel glad. Most people say they want to forget it because of all the sadness and loss.

On the day of the marathon, I had set out to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where the race begins, to start in the elite women's field, which begins 30 minutes ahead of the remaining waves.

As I was standing on the starting line and looking at the thousands of people around me, I was struck by a terrible and unusual thought: "Today's venue would be an opportune time for someone to hurt a lot of people." It passed, the gun went off, and I was on my way to Boston.

This was an especially exciting year because it was the first time my three children, who are 13, 11 and 10, came to watch mommy run the Boston race. As I concluded the race, the second master's finisher and 20th woman overall, I was immediately escorted back to the Fairmont Copley Hotel where my family and I were staying.

Bombing victim's mom: Everyone loved her
Boston: What we know now
Pediatrician's husband describes scene
Boston remembers the bombing victims

We were sitting around discussing the race, and the first explosion went off. Then the next. We all looked at each other wondering what that could have been -- with a gut-wrenching feeling, we realized it had to be bad. Sirens were wailing, and the streets were full of commotion.

Panicky texts were coming in fast from family and friends, asking if we were all safe, sending information about the two bombs that went off at the finish line. Our TV was turned off: Someone had told me to keep it off to spare the kids the gory details. The hotel went into lockdown for the next five hours, and our fear grew.

We couldn't help but think of all the people involved, the people who were killed and injured, their families, the volunteers, the first responders, the medical personnel and the runners. We wondered how race director Dave McGillivray was doing. He has the respect of the whole running community for all he has done to make the Boston Marathon so special and memorable for everyone involved.

My kids keep saying, "What kind of an idiot would do something like this? Who would do this? What do you think they are feeling about what they did right now? Are you scared to run the Boston Marathon again, Mommy?"

Runners will continue to participate in the Boston Marathon -- but it may take years for the fear to go away completely. I love running this marathon and will continue to do it. But next time I run down Boylston Street to the finish line, I will think of all the people injured and the ones who lost their lives for nothing. And I think my children have seen their mom run the Boston Marathon for the first and last time.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sheri Piers

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:41 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Stuart Gitlow says pot is addictive and those who smoke it can experience long-term psychiatric disease.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Gabby Giffords and Katie Ray-Jones say "Between 2001 and 2012, more women were shot to death by an intimate partner in our country than the total number of American troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined."
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Alan Elsner says Secretary Kerry's early cease-fire draft was leaked and presented as a final document, which served the interests of hard-liners on both sides who don't want the Gaza war to stop.
updated 7:58 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Vijay Das says Medicare is a success story that could provide health care for everybody, not just seniors
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Rick Francona says Israel seems determined to render Hamas militarily ineffective.
updated 1:43 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
S.E. Cupp says the entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner thinks for himself and refuses to be confined to an ideological box.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
A Christian group's anger over the trailer for "Black Jesus," an upcoming TV show, seems out of place, Jay Parini says
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Carol Dweck and Rachel Simmons: Girls tend to have a "fixed mindset" but they should have a "growth mindset."
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 8:09 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT