The Boston Marathon: One City, One Race, One Family
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May 3, 2017
By Beth Wolfe, CAGS, ATC
The streets of Boston, Mass. were filled with over 30,000 runners again this Patriot’s Day on April 17th, 2017. Athletic Trainers (ATs) and students came to Boston from across the United States to volunteer for the 121st Boston Marathon.
This year’s marathon weekend was busier than normal due to Passover, Easter and One Boston Day1 all falling within a few days of each other. The alignment of these religious holidays and city event made Boston stronger, more resilient and no better place to call home. Although many of the volunteers, runners and visitors who come to Boston for the marathon are not from or live in the city, the environment and atmosphere is very warm, welcoming and inviting so that everyone can feel like they are home.
Marathon weekend is one of my most favorite weekends of the entire year as it is filled with reunions of old friends, meals with colleagues from near and afar and forging of new friendships of the first-time marathon volunteers. There are 1900 medical volunteers at the marathon who work in various capacities to care for runners when they need help. Even though these volunteers may have different credentials, jobs duties or stations on “Marathon Monday” we all have one goal: to serve our patients with the highest quality of care as one cohesive unit. Year after year, the Boston Marathon medical team is ready to serve and provide care for injured/ill runners and spectators making it one of the most comprehensive and cohesive medical teams in the United States.
One person who has spent the past 40 years dedicated to enhancing the healthcare provided at the Boston Marathon is Chris Troyanos, ATC.2 Each year Chris spends months and countless hours planning, preparing and debriefing all aspects of the marathon. Chris has been a true leader, inspiration and trail-blazer for race medicine and our profession. The Metro wrote a nice article about Chris and what it is like inside the medical tents at the marathon.2 It is great to see the local and national media taking interest in Chris’ efforts and the behind the scenes work it takes to run a mass casualty event like this each year.
It is always an honor to be selected to serve on the Boston Marathon medical team, but only one word can describe what it is like to be a part of something so special: FAMILY. After the 2013 bombings, Boston has become a city that cherishes love, hope, resilience and peace. The Boston Marathon is much more than a race: it is the epitome of what family means and what a family is. It is a blessing to be a part of a profession that provides us with a family outside of our biological ones. I look forward to many more marathon weekends in this city, at this great race and with this great family.
1. One Boston Day. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.onebostonday.org/.
2. Ducharme, J. (2017). What it’s like inside the Boston Marathon medical tent. Boston Magazine (Metro), April 13. Retrieved from http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2017/04/13/boston-marathon-medical-tent-chris-troyanos/.
About the Author
Elizabeth “Beth” Wolfe is the Injury Prevention Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Wolfe completed her undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina and her master’s and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Boston University. Currently, Wolfe is pursuing her Doctorate of Health Science in Healthcare Administration and Leadership from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University. Within Massachusetts and the greater Boston area, Wolfe is a collaborator and lead author on numerous injury prevention projects and coalitions that revolve around road safety, fall prevention and brain trauma/concussion prevention. She is an active member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and is the District 1 Young Professionals Committee Representative and the Treasurer for the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts.