WHAT HOPKINTON and BOSTON MEAN TO ME

This sign is displayed every April in my hometown. It's old, wonky and weird but it's iconic. "It all starts here" is our "claim to fame."

This sign is displayed every April in my hometown. It's old, wonky and weird but it's iconic. "It all starts here" is our "claim to fame."

The Boston Marathon is a childhood memory. It was a sign of Spring and a Monday holiday.

I grew up in Hopkinton not too far from "the start of the Boston Marathon"— the line I used when people didn't know what or where Hopkinton was. But Hopkinton was a special place. We took pride in that every runner took off from the center of our town. And for as long as I can remember, I've cheered on thousands of athletes as they ran their first 3 miles into the race, "Here they come. . . And off they go!" Ashland wasn't far from where we stood, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley were all down "135". . . They would push themselves to get over Heart Break Hill, make their way through Boston College, run down Beacon Street and then turn the corner onto Boylston. I admired every runner who passed me by.

Once all the runners passed through, my brothers and I used to pick up t-shirts the runners had left, bring them home, give them a good wash and wear them like artifacts from someone famous.

Now I live just blocks from the finish line. And for the past couple of years, I'd leave work to cheer on friends or simply take in all the excitement from the back end. But on this day, one year ago, my friends and I were in Mexico celebrating a wedding when we all got the news that something terrible had happened back home. News traveled fast that day. I had received a text from my brother who lives in California. That was the first I had heard of the tragic event and the news worsened with every text someone received or article we read thereafter.

Things have changed since April 15, 2013. Everyone knows the Boston Marathon, where is starts and where it ends. The race has become much more than a 26.2 mile goal. It means courage to walk, run and start again. It comes with tears of triumph and a road to recovery. It represents community, strength, love and support; a second chance for those who survived; and a memorial for those we wrongfuly lost. Marathon Monday was always a special day for me and for towns it touched along the route but now it's loved by America. "We're America Strong" as Marc Fucarile said, one of the five survivors featured on ABC and ESPN's "Dream On: Stories from Boston’s Strongest" television special.

This year, on the 118th Boston Marathon, Jake I will be in Hopkinton cheering for the survivors, heroes, and the 35,000 running in their honor. We couldn't be more excited. Jake will just be coming in from a 145 miles bike ride from Portsmouth Maine for Epic Man's overnight ride. More on that to come!

I'm proud to call Hopkinton my "hometown" and I'm proud to live in Boston.

K

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This is Jake and I at the finish line before the new one was laid down a few days ago.

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We love the New Balance Campaign. #loveboston

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