NPR

8 runners take on the 2014 Boston Marathon

amanda burgess

We are so incredibly honored to be calling this day one of the best memories of our lives. The “lucky ones” who, for one reason or another, were fortunate enough to have snuck away with no injury or physical pain.

Instead of basking in this glorious day, my family had another focus.

The night before the marathon this incredible, amazing, beautiful woman we call “Greek Memere” had a stroke. Her name is Elaine Ethier and she is my Mem, my grandma, my hero and such an inspiration to me. It came out of nowhere.

She is in the ICU at Mass General breathing through a tube. So the marathon became an after thought. A reminder that life is so incredibly precious and real, that taking the time to say what you wanted to, love endlessly and live like it was the last day you had.

I struggled every mile, my knee throbbed out of the gate. But I focused on Mem, my mother’s mother, the woman who took me to Disney World the first time, who partied at my college graduation, who gave me advice on love and life. The woman my children adore and love.

My marathon was for MEM!!!! Every smile … every tear. She is an example of life, love and happiness! I love her to pieces and am heartbroken. Take that Heartbreak Hill!

— Amanda Burgess

Tory C. Marandos (1976-2006) Tradition … Legacy … Tragedy … Hero

If you live in Boston you know what Fenway is like Marathon Monday. And if you were friends with Tory Marandos you knew where you needed to be at 7 a.m. that morning … every year. It was the Tory Tradition. And we miss it!

When people ask me what the Boston Marathon means to me, I know I am not alone when I reminisce of the years I spent partying in the bars at Fenway.

We would laugh until we cried and every year no matter what we knew Tory would orchestrate his Marathon Tradition. Hours of celebrating his love for Boston … beer … and buddies!

Working was not allowed and he would even call your boss if you needed him to.

Tory would bring smiles to faces of strangers … hugs to girls that were crying … and life to any party. He was, by far, the most loved person I have ever met. And speaking of his hugs they were the best kind … he would squeeze you until it hurt!

His family was always first and his friends were his life line. His presence was like light in a dark room and everyone wanted to be near him. When he spoke to you it was like there was no one else in the world.

Tory was a gift on this earth.

Tory would give you his life. And, in the end, that is exactly what he did. Tory’s tragic death was protecting others.

On Marathon Monday as I approach Fenway I will look up into the sky and I know Tory will be celebrating in Heaven as his “Tradition” continues.

And I will celebrate the heroism of a son, brother and friend who was taken too soon.

Running Boston with Tory on my mind and forever in my heart!

— Amanda Burgess

Friends Are Forever: ‘It’s The Little Things”
One of my oldest friends made this bow and several headbands for me, my daughter and my niece to wear on Marathon Monday.
Her name is Jessica Batson. I have known her almost my entire life. She was the ultimate jock … always the fastest girl in every race. From first grade on. I was envious of her. You remember that girl in your class?
Jess was picked first in gym class and at recess for kickball teams. I was amazed by her athletic ability. She literally beat the boys!
I, on the other hand, became a cheerleader and literally wore bows like these. The only thing I was running after was boys! As you can imagine our interests were different and we grew apart.
Fast forward 20+ years. We are adults … having children getting married. Things happens in your life … good or bad and they trigger communication with your forever friends.
It’s amazing the love, support and encouragement I have been blessed with this year. I truly am overwhelmed by the spirit of my friends … old and new.
Jessica is one of many of my forever friends. And I will wear this bow in honor of “friendship” and forever.
I am thankful for the love and support I have been blessed with. XO
— Amanda Burgess

Friends Are Forever: ‘It’s The Little Things”

One of my oldest friends made this bow and several headbands for me, my daughter and my niece to wear on Marathon Monday.

Her name is Jessica Batson. I have known her almost my entire life. She was the ultimate jock … always the fastest girl in every race. From first grade on. I was envious of her. You remember that girl in your class?

Jess was picked first in gym class and at recess for kickball teams. I was amazed by her athletic ability. She literally beat the boys!

I, on the other hand, became a cheerleader and literally wore bows like these. The only thing I was running after was boys! As you can imagine our interests were different and we grew apart.

Fast forward 20+ years. We are adults … having children getting married. Things happens in your life … good or bad and they trigger communication with your forever friends.

It’s amazing the love, support and encouragement I have been blessed with this year. I truly am overwhelmed by the spirit of my friends … old and new.

Jessica is one of many of my forever friends. And I will wear this bow in honor of “friendship” and forever.

I am thankful for the love and support I have been blessed with. XO

— Amanda Burgess

One year later: I took this same picture last year. These were the shirts I bought at the expo. Last year … they were excited, jumping up and down cheering for me. This morning they both went and took these shirts out and asked if it would be OK to wear them.
Instead of cheering for me they are asking permission: “If anyone tries to ‘do’ anything this year, mom, can we punch them in the face?” They are asking so many questions.
It’s going to be a very emotional week on all fronts. We are ready. We are Boston Strong! Natalie is anxious about her brother not being with her this year. Camden refuses to go. She told him this morning: “I just want you to be with me.”
— Amanda Burgess

One year later: I took this same picture last year. These were the shirts I bought at the expo. Last year … they were excited, jumping up and down cheering for me. This morning they both went and took these shirts out and asked if it would be OK to wear them.

Instead of cheering for me they are asking permission: “If anyone tries to ‘do’ anything this year, mom, can we punch them in the face?” They are asking so many questions.

It’s going to be a very emotional week on all fronts. We are ready. We are Boston Strong! Natalie is anxious about her brother not being with her this year. Camden refuses to go. She told him this morning: “I just want you to be with me.”

— Amanda Burgess