Boston Marathon hits home in Lincoln

By: Tony Overbay - special to Lincoln News Messenger
-A +A


The Boston Marathon’s tragedy has touched Lincoln runners, including Tony Overbay, a marriage and family therapist, and father of four. Overbay participated in the Boston event six years ago.

Coincidentally Monday, Overbay talked to Lincoln Crossing Elementary students about running. For the third consecutive year, Overbay will run for 24 hours prior to the Glen Edwards Middle School’s third annual 5k run April 27 to raise school funds.

“I had a brief conversation with the principal when he let me into the auditorium but the kids didn’t seem to know anything about it yet. I ran into a parent at Target last night whose daughter was in the presentation,” Overbay said Tuesday. “The mother said,’ thanks for creating a positive impression on a negative day.’ I thought that was pretty deep. I did ramp up my presentation quite a bit in hopes that the kids would leave with a very positive message about running, knowing what they would probably come home too.”

The News Messenger asked Overbay if the Boston Marathon’s bombing would make him scared to run in other marathons and what his reaction was when he heard the news. Overbay’s response follows below.

“My first thought was shock. I couldn't believe that somebody would do this at an event that is just so good, so wholesome, so innocent, so American!
It's the oldest marathon in the U.S. It doesn't matter how many 24-hour runs or 100 milers I do; when I meet new runners, they typically ask, “Have you done Boston?” The Boston Marathon is running in the U.S.

I spent years training to qualify to run the Boston Marathon and I was finally able to do so in 2007. It was everything that it was supposed to be. It was the greatest, best organized, most inspiring marathon I have ever run. People lined the streets the entire 26.2 miles. The camaraderie between the runners was infectious.

While it wasn't my best time ever, it passed more quickly than any marathon I ever completed because it was such an incredible event!
And the more time I had to process what happened today (Monday), I was angry. I couldn’t believe that somebody or some people were going to take away some of the innocence and awe of this event. I thought of my wife. When I ran Boston, my wife left the hotel early and got a spot in the front row of the grandstand that held one of the bombs. She sat there all day.

Then I thought of my friends. I had several who were running this year and I took to Facebook and Twitter and texting until they were all accounted for. My cell phone went crazy. I felt love. I had over two dozen texts from friends and family who wanted to know if I was there and if I was OK.

At that point, I pulled into the Lincoln Crossing Elementary School parking lot. I was scheduled to speak to the fourth- and fifth-graders about running!

So in Boston, somebody was using a race to terrorize and I was walking into a gym full of
students in hopes of using a race to inspire. I tried my best to make it the most inspiring message that I could.

I won’t even hesitate to try and sign up for Boston again and I don't know many runners that would. I know it's clichéd, but if you don’t, then they, whomever “they” are, win. And when you’re talking about runners, runners who have worked hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon, well, quite frankly we would prefer to win!”