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Boston Bruins Foundation Team Joins in Celebration of Boston Marathon

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - The cheering echoes in the distance, the clapping thunders, and the stream of 30,000 runners is constant.

The scene towards the end of the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20 was celebratory, despite the consistent rainfall that was starting to pick up.

Out of those thousands of runners, a group of 30 finished the race with the Spoked-B on their chests, right above their pinned on numbers, representing the Boston Bruins Foundation.

The runners together raised $150,00 for the foundation.

"It was actually by Fenway Park where I got choked up and got really emotional," said Brittany Young, who works with the Boston Bruins Foundation and finished her fourth Boston Marathon on Monday.

"Taking this corner, from Mile 23 to here I was like, 'alright, we're done,' and then I got to the corner and I was like, 'I don't want it to end,' so I actually purposely started running slower and and really relish each moment."

Year after year, thousands of supporters line the 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton, Mass. into Boston, where the finish line stretches across Boylston Street.

Where runners take their last turn onto Boylston, the Ladder 15, Engine 33 Boston Fire Department station had a banner hanging that display the Boston Strong blue and yellow ribbon, remembering those who were killed in the Boston Marathon bombings two years ago on April 15, 2013 - Officer Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard and Lu Lingzi.

A bright yellow bench also rests nearby, with the phrases "Keep Running Boston" and "Boston Strong" etched across in blue.

"Taking this turn, honestly, it's a celebration and I think that given the events that happened two years ago, it's so beautiful to see the radiance of the city on these streets," said Young. "Just to really showcase what Boston is so proud of, being a resilient city."

No one lining the course cared that it was 50 degrees and raining out. They shouted and clapped nonstop, holding up signs, knowing that those running had it much 'worse' off than them.

Many participants run with the same mindset - when the pain kicks in, and it feels like too much, they remember something, or someone, that brings them back into the moment and makes them remember they're running.

"These are all people who have it much harder than I do," Bruins Foundation team member Tamara Tierney said, pointing to names written around her ankle. She completed her first Boston Marathon. When she was having a tough time, she thought of those names.

"It was just so much more fun than I thought it was going to be. Seeing the support from people was unreal - orange slices from three year olds - it was just really awesome," smiled Tierney.

"Community, and passion," Tierney said, when describing the spirit of the Boston Marathon. "People's passion for this sport, and just the community coming together. Everybody's cheering, everybody's having fun together."

Reasons for running in the marathon vary from runner to runner, not only on the Bruins Foundation team, but across the thousands of participants.

"I run in honor of my Spanish teacher in high school, he passed away very young and he was originally from Concord, Massachusetts. I always think of him, so that definitely gets me each time," Young said of being first inspired to run. She wore his name, Mike Russell, down her arm.

A young boy on the route had shouted to her, "Go Russell!"

"I made a promise to myself to one day run the Marathon and support Mike Russell, who I have on my arm, so that's what gets me going, when I'm like, 'why are you doing this?'" she said.

For anyone who followed the Boston Marathon - in person, on TV, through social media - they saw images and stories of courageous battles, of survivors from the bombings finishing the marathon, of runners collapsing in sweet relief over the finish line.

The most lasting images are those of arms raised, of smiles, of accomplishment.

"Definitely a celebration. Inspiring. And I'm from Hawaii, and the 'Aloha' spirit is really everywhere," said Young. "Celebration, inspiration, and 'aloha.'"

On April 15, the City of Boston held its first One Boston Day, a new annual tradition to serve as a celebration of the resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people that make Boston the great city it is.

Running in the Spoked-B, Young said that she received several remarks throughout the 26.2 miles as a result. Some were encouraging: "The Bruins are tough, you can do it!!"

Others were about the team's current fate, being out of the playoffs.

The Bruins are usually still playing on Marathon Monday.

She would smile, not really knowing exactly how to respond, and say, "They'll get back next year."

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