So many moments make up a marathon. All uniquely personal, but when looked at together they truly embody what it means to #BeBoston. Help Angela reach her fundraising goals and make it her moment.
Angela Scott’s Boston Marathon journey begins as a young spectator at Mile 17, and will end in April on Boylston Street. But, it’s those moments in between that make her story special.
The first time I thought about running the Boston Marathon was standing at Mile 17 of the course waiting to see my dad run by as a young girl. There was something so electrifying about being at this momentous event on Patriots Day in Boston. Fast-forward 15 years and I am officially registered to run the 2017 Boston Marathon for Team Girl Scouts.
If you don’t know me, you may be thinking that I’m just another wacky marathon runner, but there is so much more to my story. There have been so many moments throughout that 15-year journey that fuel my passion for running, my love for the race, and my commitment to being a positive role model for girls. The Boston Marathon was my dream as a little girl cheering for my dad; it was a goal when I was 19, trying to cope with college and all the change it brings; now it is my reality as I join the Girl Scouts to finally finish the race this April.
When you grow up spending your Saturdays at the soccer field or on the basketball court, sports become a part of who you are. Being an athlete was a huge part of my identity until my junior year of high school, when suddenly it wasn’t. I had been aware of my scoliosis from a young age and my parents and I had taken proactive steps to combat my aggressive curve, but it wasn’t getting any better. When I was 16, we made the decision that I would have spinal fusion reconstructive surgery on February 9th, 2010. I knew this meant that there would be a lot of changes to my very active lifestyle, I just wasn’t prepared for the impact those changes would have. After the surgery I had an extremely difficult recovery process. It wasn’t until months later that I was finally ready to be active again. I started running in an attempt to feel “normal” again, and it became my passion. It was my way to fight back and to prove to myself that I could be strong again. After overcoming something so huge, I needed to feel like I was in control.
When I entered college two years later, I felt that sense of control slowly slip away again. I was in a new environment, around new people, with a new routine and I had a really hard time adjusting to my new way of life. I started to focus on the one thing I could always rely on–running. I slowly set goals for myself and the first one was to run a half marathon. I trained for and finished the May 2012 Run to Remember Half Marathon in Boston. When I crossed the finish line, I felt so empowered and strong- it was then that I first truly set my sights on training for the 2013 Boston Marathon. My dad was on board to run the first 5 or so miles with me and then jump in around Mile 17 to finish the race with me.
On race day, I was so excited to run and to see my family at the finish line. But, I didn’t make it to the finish line. The day I had been so looking forward to quickly turned awful when the bombs went off on Boylston Street. My dad and I were ushered off the course around mile 20. We quickly got into the car and headed back home to Marlborough, all the while frantic and calling to make sure friends and family who were lined up along the remainder of the course were safe. My godfather, who I love dearly, was on Boylston Street when the bombs went off. My older sister was in her senior year at Boston College and was out along the course. It was all such a blur, but I will never forget that day.
After that, I made it a mission to finish Boston. This time my dad was going to run the full race with me. We trained throughout the winter together, but in the weeks leading up to Marathon Monday we ran into some issues and were no longer able to participate. I was so frustrated – my second attempt at Boston slowly slipped through my fingers! My dad quickly researched other races in the upcoming weeks and we set our sights on the Cox Marathon in Providence, RI. The stars were not aligned for me on this day; at Mile 20 I looked over to my dad and I just stopped. In that moment, I hit a wall and knew that once again the finish line was not in my future. He just kept telling me how proud he was of me and that on that day, mile 20 was my finish line. I remember driving home that day feeling defeated. Maybe I just wasn’t meant to run a marathon. After that I took a break from marathons. I ran some 5Ks and a couple half marathons, but my dreams of a marathon were put on the backburner.
Then in 2015, after graduating college that little voice came back and told me I should do it, told me I could do it. I would spend all summer training for the 2015 Baystate Marathon in Lowell. I ended up dealing with some health issues before the race and it would take me over five and a half hours to finish, but I crossed that finish line! It was such a weird feeling because while my family and friends were so excited and proud of me for finishing, I was numb. It didn’t really hit me that I had finally achieved what I had set out to achieve 3 years earlier: to finish a marathon. But I now realize why it was so bittersweet – because when I crossed that finish line I always envisioned it to be after I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. I finished a marathon, but deep down I knew I wasn’t done. I knew this wouldn’t be a onetime thing, I just didn’t know when the marathon bug would come back and bite me again.
I finished a marathon, but deep down I knew I wasn’t done. I knew this wouldn’t be a onetime thing, I just didn’t know when the marathon bug would come back and bite me again.
When I started working for the Girl Scouts in June of 2016, I had mentioned to my supervisor that I loved to run and it was one of my biggest passions. The moment I heard that the Girl Scouts had a Boston Marathon Team I remember my whole body lighting up. I was now working for an organization that so harmoniously aligned with my passion to empower girls and my passion for running. I received the information and application around the beginning of November. As I read through the terms and conditions I started to second-guess myself. With a fundraising goal of $6,500 I thought there was no way I could do it. I had never fundraised before, I was living on my own in Somerville on a non-profit salary, and my credit card would not be able to cover the balance if I didn’t reach my goal. I sat with it back and forth for several weeks. I started the application and it sat on my desktop. But, as the application deadline inched closer, I took a step back and I said to myself ‘this is your goal, this was your dream, and now you can make this your reality’. I sent the application in and about a week later, on a Monday morning, I received one of the best phone calls of my life. I was selected for TEAM GSEM for the 2017 Boston Marathon! After hanging up the phone I blasted Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” and danced around my apartment by myself, smiling, crying, and freaking out.
I have yet to come off that high. This has been the most amazing experiences of my life. Running with the Marathon Coalition every Saturday has been so incredible. The first time I heard Coach Rick speak, I had goosebumps and this constant urge that I wanted to tear up. It all felt so right. This was it, except this time would be better, this moment would be bigger. When I think about crossing that finish line on Boylston Street I get so emotional. This time it will no longer just be a box to check off like so many other races and goals in my life. This will be such a larger moment, comprised of so many smaller moments. When I think about crossing that finish line, I don’t know what will be going through my head on race day. Everything that has happened in my life up until this point has strengthened me in ways I may never know. This year’s race is about being a part of something bigger than myself. I run for every young girl who finds herself standing on that same hill in Newton cheering on runners and thinking to herself, I want to do this one day. I run for my family and friends who have unconditionally supported me to follow my dreams and make them a reality. And lastly I run for the city of Boston. I am empowered to be more resilient, more authentic, and live my life more courageously and full of life because of the strength shown by the amazing people who make this city the greatest in the world. I used to run to be strong for myself, but now I run to be strong for others. We all go through ups and downs in our lives and when we can’t be strong for ourselves, we have strong people around us to get us through. Yet, when we have the opportunity to be the strong ones, we have a responsibility to live so fearlessly and courageously to bring everyone else up with us. This is my story. I know I run this race alongside people who have some of the most amazing stories to tell. This is what the Boston Marathon is all about, empowering others through the human spirit.