by Erin Engelson, former Marathon Sports Staff (eternal Marathon Sports Friend)
I have a lot of weird feelings about Marathon Monday 2013.
2005 was my first year with Marathon Sports and since then, I was there for every Marathon Monday. The great thing about Marathon Monday is that it was the day that we could finally relax. We had worked frantically for months and finally, on Monday we could relax, take a few breaths, and enjoy the day with our coworkers and friends. I loved that day.
The Boston store was my home for 8 years. But in 2013, I got a new job. I started April 1st, and decided to take the year off from Marathon weekend – and I certainly did not want to request a day off within my first two weeks of work…so on Marathon Monday I was at my new job. It was weird. I remember texting back and forth with Shane on Sunday night, telling him to enjoy Monday because he deserved it. He said he couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to be there. And I couldn’t, either.
On Monday morning I went to work, and kept the BAA website up on the background of my computer screen. I think I texted a couple friends who would be working at the store telling them to enjoy the day.
Then a few hours later, my sister sent me this bizarre text: “Something weird is going on by the store.” I thought: what the heck are you talking about? Then another text: “The front window of the store is blown in. They think it’s a bomb.”
I froze at my desk. We turned on the TV at work. I started shaking and the tears came pouring out, with my brand new coworkers staring at me like I was nuts. Looking at the live coverage, my first thought was horrifying: They’re all dead. Oh my God. How could they not be?? Shane has been like an older brother to me for 10 years and the thought that he, and all my other friends, were in the middle of this disgusting scene, made me sick to my stomach.
My second thought: I would have been right there. Standing by the front door.
2013 was the first time in nine years that I wasn’t there. On a typical Marathon Monday, I pretty much took any and every excuse to be outside in front of the store – cheering the runners, people watching, talking to friends. And yet here I was, in an office very far away, frantically texting and calling all the guys to try and get some sort of response. I had to go outside and hyperventilate. I was so confused and scared and didn’t know what to think.
Finally I got confirmation that everyone was alright, and after the relief washed over me, another set of feelings started to sink in: guilt. Why wasn’t I there? I should have requested the day off. I should have been there. I could have helped. I could have helped my best friends shoulder some of the burden of this horrible day.
Over the following few days, I alternated between crying and being glued to the news. I was so worried about my dear friend and what he had to witness and do that day. When I finally got to talk to Shane, he said: “I’m so glad you weren’t there that day.”
These people are my family. I have developed relationships with friends I’ve made through working at the store I know will stand the test of time. As a result, what happened on Marathon Monday felt personal. I am finally starting to reconcile the weird feelings I have about that day. I will be there this year, and the years following. And I will hug my best friends and be glad that I stumbled into Marathon Sports one day in late 2004 and filled out a job application.