Larry Rosenblatt's Boston Marathon Story, by Elliott Denman

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Boston_2013.jpg
Larry Rosenblatt, 2013 Boston Marathon, courtesy of Larry Rosenblatt

Earlier this evening, Elliott Denman sent this piece. Larry Rosenblatt's experience with 2013 Boston Marathon should be read by one and all...
Larry Rosenblatt's Boston Marathon story
 
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
   Lawrence "Larry" Rosenblatt's story reverberates.
   Now. Then. And, likely, forever.
   A citizen-runner, he's among the legion of the fortunate, who got himself to the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in somewhere just past 4:07, less than a minute-plus before the horrors sent word of this race flashing around the globe, before the perpetrators gave this race more worldwide attention than the splendiferous deeds of Lelisa Desisa Benti and Rita Jeptoo ever could.
   Will anyone ever remember Benti (2:10:22) and Jeptoo (2:26:25) for the great races they ran over the 26.2 miles stretch from Hopkinton, Mass. to downtown Boylston Street on April 15, 2013?
   Unlikely.
   They'll simply go down in the books as the fastest of all men and women "on the day it happened."
   Their memories dwarf those of Ocean Township, N.J. resident Larry Rosenblatt, and every other member of the coulda-woulda just-maybe-it-coulda-been-me squad whose timing evolved into matters of life, death or fortunate survival.
  Boston 2013 was Rosenblatt's 24th marathon. From kid to adult, he's run them over a period of five decades.
   Now 50, he began running them at 16 (a 4:23 NYC struggle in 1979), trained himself up to a PR run in three years (2:59:35 at NYC  at NYC in 1982) and had never looked back over his shoulder.
   Until the third Monday of April, Patriot's Day, 2013.
     "Last year," he tells you, "I decided I would soak it all in since it may have been my (10th and)  last Boston. I hung around under the photo bridge for a few minutes, chatted with the always spectacular volunteers, and had one snap a picture of me under the finish line.
  "It was not five seconds after the picture was taken that the first explosion occurred. I was staring straight back at the area when I heard and saw the blast and accompanying fireball rise.
  "Some said was that fireworks."
   Larry Rosenblatt knew differently.
   "I've run this race 10 times and always finish around now, and I've never seen fireworks.
   "I knew it was serious immediately."
    Rosenblatt's best-mapped plans - along with those of so many others - changed immediately.
      "I then grabbed my medal and raced out of Berkeley Street to
Newbury Street. I continued running against the grain to my arranged meeting place in the Boston Common.
  "I reconnected with my family but could see the horror in their faces, and realized how close we had come to tragedy."
    Like so many more like him, this coulda-woulda guy returns to the Boston race
on Monday as a personal expression of gratitude (for those who had done so much
to alleviate the 2013 suffering) and thanks.
   Vice President Joe Biden and all the others who, in special ceremonies on Tuesday's one-year anniversary, vowed "America will never, ever stand down; We own the finish line" had it exactly right.
   The 118th edition of this longest-running show in major American footracing
can never be sidetracked by the forces of evil.
   Larry Rosenblatt is as adamant in this feeling as the vice president.
   Rosenblatt is more than a runner. He had been "putting back" into marathoning and road racing for years and years, as race director and administrator, running club officer.
 and a whole lot more.
  Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was a major trigger.
 "After the 2012 NYC Marathon was cancelled, I took the opportunity to do some charity for Sandy victims here in New Jersey, since I live right on the devastated Jersey Shore area.
  "I chose to help a family that lost its parents in the storm when a tree fell on their car, killing the parents and leaving four children behind to fend for themselves.
  " I chose to run four marathons over a nine-week period to raise money for them. My first of the of the four was the Los Angeles Marathon on March 17, then Boston, then the New Jersey Marathon (in Oceanport and Long Branch), and the Bob Potts Heritage Rail Trail Marathon in York, Pa. on Memorial Day."
   Before it became a mental struggle to cope with all the horrors he'd - through fate's fickle fingers - escaped, Boston was a physical struggle.
   "I was beginning to suffer the early effects of a hip going arthritic, thus it became a pretty deliberate trudge from Hopkinton to Boston."
   He'd really figured that Boston 2013 - physically speaking - would have to be his last.
   His mind was stronger than ever.  But many of his key runner's body parts just weren't.
  "As I turned the corner down off Hereford Street onto Boylston for the final stretch, I proceed to run toward the 26-mile marker banner and touch the town crest for Newtown, Connecticut, in reverence to the shooting victims.
   "I then continued down the right side of the road toward the VIP bleachers where my wife and two sons always await my finish. I slowed and saw them, and then proceeded to the finish. They were immediately up and out of their seats to make their way to the Boston Common where we always meet post race.
   "Upon crossing the finish line, rather than make my normal hasty path over the beleaguered figures of spent runners, grabbing my medal, food, and a hasty retreat from the masses"....he lingered a bit and so was witness to the depravity of it all.
   Not long after, as the sirens roared and the trained first-responders rushed into action,  he was successful in reconnecting with family.
  "But I could see the horror in their faces, and realized how close we had come to tragedy. As we tried to get a taxi back to my hotel, I walked by the taxi stand at Massachusetts  General Hospital, but it was empty.
  "However, a throng of at least 30 media saw me in my sweats, with the medal around my neck, and rushed me and wanted to know what happened. I had microphones thrust in my face, and before I knew it I had people from my entire life calling to tell me they heard me on the radio, TV, etc.
  "I also received an outpouring of concern from many others that knew I was running.
  "Our planned post-race party, of course, was cancelled. Yet my wife and kids still went to the restaurant in a daze, and tried to understand what had happened."
   Ailing left hip and all, though, a quick decision was made.
   He determined that Boston 2013 could not possibly be his last.
  "I knew that I had no other option then to 'suck it up' and will myself back to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, bad hip and all.
   "My normal training mileage is down by 50 percent. I've had to supplement my training with an ElliptiGo for cross training. It's the closest thing to running, but without impact."
  And so the Rosenblatt family - including sons Alex, a Vermont grad who works at Marathon Sports, and Dan, a freshman runner at LaSalle University - will be back on
Boylston Street on Monday.
  They, too, know, who owns this finsh line.
  "April 21, 2014 will be a great day of personal triumph for me, and more importantly for the City of Boston, and the greatest running event in the world, the Boston Marathon," Larry Rosenblatt tells you.
   And millions more will say "amen" to that on Monday.

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