By Binu Dhindsa
Ever wonder what it’s like to run a marathon? Ever wonder what those runners feel while running? Ever wonder what experience the runners in Boston had on April 15, 2013?
One marathon mom told me her story. My friend and fellow fitness lover Candice Olivier was there. Her and her husband experienced the Boston events together. Candice is a mom of three children aged 12, 10 and 8. She lives a busy life in Oakville, Ontario, somehow getting her long training runs into her week. It was an honour to hear her story and feel her passion about what running has done for her and what she thinks about marathon culture.
Binu: How long have you been doing marathons?
Candice: I have been running for 7 years. I started with 5km runs but it wasn’t enough. I soon started onto 10km and then moved further on to a half marathon. I wanted more of the adrenaline that I experienced in the half marathon, so I signed up for a full marathon. When I run I get this feeling inside. It’s 42km of pure adrenaline! I think to myself “I can do this”! It’s such an accomplishment; I believe if you do a marathon you can do anything.
Binu: Why did you want to do the Boston marathon?
Candice: Boston is the ultimate race! Years ago when I started running, Boston was the number one marathon everyone wanted to do. When I did my first marathon, getting to the Boston marathon became a personal goal. Everyone told me I couldn’t do a marathon. I was told I wouldn’t be able to do such a long run because of my lupus. I was told my joints wouldn’t handle it. Not only have I done Boston now, I have already done 5 or 6 other marathons. Without the running my joints seize up, so I have to keep running.
Binu: How do you feel about the fact that you were there minutes after the explosion?
Candice: The emotions were high. It was the last stretch; I had the sprained calf, the car accident the week before, the chest infection…everything was telling me not to go to Boston. Not only did I walk it, I ran it. I ran slow, but I finished! I wanted to walk so badly the last couple kilometres; but something deep down gave me the energy to carry forward. When I crossed the finish line it was pure emotions. I accomplished my dream. It was pure tears of happiness and joy. Minutes after I crossed I went to get my medal and the explosion went off. I thought it was a canon. Everyone was looking in the direction of the noise; we saw all the smoke. By that time the second one went off. That’s when the pushing started and they corralled all the runners; the police radios were going crazy. The people who finished after me didn’t get a chance to get their medals. We weren’t sure what was happening and I wasn’t sure where my husband was. It wasn’t until we were taken to the hotel that we heard someone in the hallway freaking out; that’s when I started to panic and didn’t know where my friends were, or where he was.
Binu: As a mom, what do you think about the marathon culture?
Candice: People are there cheering for their moms, dads, grandparents, and children. It’s a family unit. I must have hand slapped a thousand kids during the run and it felt like my own kids were there with me. When we found out it was an 8 year old who died there, that’s when it hit home. There were so many strangers there who come every year just to cheer everyone on.
Binu: Would you go back?
Candice: Yes I will go back. I never got to experience the finish, the accomplishment, the pride of running the Boston marathon. You walk around with that medal like you just won the lottery. The feeling that I can do anything, that no one can tell me any different. If I listened to those people years ago, I would not have accomplished my dreams. I am in a happy place right now, but part of me feels it was taken away. I can’t display or wear the medal as it doesn’t feel right. It’s an earned medal but with all the tragedy involved it just doesn’t feel right. I would have to qualify again in the fall in order to go back next year, but with my calf injury I will have to wait a bit longer.
Candice experienced something many of us will never understand. Her love for running, accomplishing something many told her she would never be able to do, keeps her going day to day. Marathons is how she keeps her joints moving. She inspires others to dream big. Thousands of runners enter marathons every year. They run, they sweat, they cry, and they fulfil their dreams!
If you enjoyed this read, be sure to check out Angie Seth’s recent piece on her reaction to the Boston Marathon bombing
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