EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 27, 2014

McVeigh weighs in on marathon

My marathon day started in Boston at my apartment at 4 a.m., when I woke and got ready to catch a cab, which came at 4:30 a.m. and drove me to the Boston Common to catch the 5:15 a.m. bus for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team.

I remembered seeing the Prudential Building, in the dark, thinking “I’ll see you in about 11 hours.”

The bus arrived at “The Dana-Farber refuge” at St. Paul’s Church in Hopkinton, near the start, and we had about four hours to the start (11 a.m.) to visualize and enjoy camaraderie with about 700 others from the Dana-Farber team.

We exchanged stories of lives saved and lost to cancer, and spoke with several who were returning, having been stopped at mile 25 last year.

I want to hold into the sight of the sign — black LED signs with orange lettering that usually are on Route 93 telling you how long it is to Route 128 to Sullivan Square — at the starting line. It flashed, “Boston” and then “One year stronger.”

But that sign was just a taste of what was to come: It was the fastest four hours and nine minutes of my life. Three-to-nine-person-deep crowds were along the entire route. The only stretches without fans were due to trees coming to the edge of the street or cones. The sounds and cheers of the crowd “Go Dana-Farber!” were the perfect antidote to the sickly taste of Gatorade, water, power gels.

Of all the crowds, my favorite moments were seeing my mom and dad at Mile 11.7. That’s the same place my dad took me to watch the marathon when I was growing up. That’s were my love of the sport started. And those two people, my mom and dad, are the reason why I had the confidence and strength to run.

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