Mark Cinelli, Hyperwear user and friend, ran his second marathon last year in Boston. Check out his amazing story as our guest blogger this month.
Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues,
I have been told that in life it is all about the journey. When I wrote to you a year ago, I regaled you with tales of my first marathon journey, not only selflessly for Project Hope but also selfishly for my own accomplishments. It was a letter filled with hope.
A year later I write again, but about a journey that we all have taken since that April day. There is not a person I know who has not been deeply affected by the senseless tragedy, not one who doesn’t share a story of where he or she was or how they felt. For me, it was just too close. It changed my life in ways I could never imagine. And, it made me want to fight to make it to the finish line once again.
I was at mile 25.8 (Hereford St.) when I heard about the bombing. Fortunately, I had my cell with me. After ignoring a couple of calls from some co-workers (thinking they were busting my chops), I took a call from my wife, Gina. She sounded frantic and asked if I was okay. I said I was fine, close to finishing the race, and assured her that we would meet at our designated spot (right by the Finish Line where some friends had passes and invited my family to sit with them). Gina told me that a bomb exploded near the finish line and multiple people could be injured or dead.Fortunately she had taken the kids home and was on her way back to meet me.
All these crazy thoughts started running through my mind.How am I going to get out of here? Were my fellow teammates and friends safe? What the hell happened? I found out later that everyone I knew was out of harms’ way but I will never forget the looks of puzzlement and wonder on other people’s faces. Fear, desperation, and confusion mixed with sweat and exhaustion greeted me less than half a mile to the finish. No one had a clue what was going on and we could not get a straight answer from anyone around us.
Yet, I was blown away by the generosity of complete strangers. Some people offered the runners their cell phones or opened up their homes for us to come in and make phone calls. Others offered warm clothing and water as we stood around waiting for instructions. What an amazing city Boston is! After several minutes, I finally reached Gina again and we made plans to meet up at Government Center. By the time I reached her I was mentally and physically exhausted. Let me tell you, though,that was one of the best hugs and kisses I’ve ever received. Truly a day I will never forget.
It didn’t take long for the dust to settle and for me to be angry. Angry and determined to get back on the course. It wasn’t even up for discussion that I would be a member of the 2014 Project Hope Marathon Team. Never did it cross my mind to quit. Here I am, lucky to be standing and running today. I plan to raise the most money I have ever raised for Project Hope while running the best marathon of my career.
Despite the fact that I, and many of my Project Hope teammates, did not cross the finish line in 2013, we were able to raise over $200,000 ($6,000 from the generous donations of my family and friends). As I have told you before it only takes $5,000 to help a family get back on their feet. Thank you for helping me help so many families in 2013.
With your support, we can make a difference in the lives of other families this coming year. We can also show the world that this great city of ours will not be victimized by terrorists. Please visit my donation page today to pledge your support – http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamProjectHope2013/fundraiser/mrfit
You will receive an email confirmation of your TAX DEDUCTABLE donation.
It’s time to take back our finish line. Together, we are, Boston Strong.
Mark Cinelli (Aka Mr. Fit)
Stay Active, Stay Fit!