April 22, 2013
Anyone who has run competitive track in New England in the last 20 years at a minimum (that’s as far back as our experience with New England track) likely knows Tommy Meagher – at least by sight.
The same could be said of anyone who has run the Boston Marathon or watched it on tv during the last 17 years.
For the last 17 years Meagher – a long time track and field starter at track meets in New England – has served as the finish line coordinator for the Boston Marathon. As Meagher said in a Boston Globe piece in 2010, that means he organized “the security, the television crews, the photographers, the medical personnel, the drug testers, the race sponsors, and the time clocks at the finish.”
He also often held the finishing tape and thus you likely recognize his picture.
Millions across the globe might now recognize Meagher as he responded to the bombings in heroic fashion.
It’s been said you don’t know truly how you’ll act in a moment of crisis until it actually happens, and in the case of Meagher, he passed with flying colors.
Watch the video below. The first bomb detonates and nearly everyone runs away from the blast. Not Meagher. He immediately runs towards it to try to help.
Incredible (He’s the one in the light blue jacket on the left):
Afterwards, some people in the press noticed Meagher and he appeared on the Today Show. Boston Magazine did a piece on him where he described seeing one of the dead, a guy without legs, a person holding their arm. As for his reaction, Meagher said, “I’m an educator. I’m a teacher all my life, and when something happens, you react to help people. I’m in charge of that turf. I gotta make sure that whatever happens in that turf, good things, bad things, I gotta take care of it.”
As for whether he’d be back next year, Meagher said, “Someone said to me after what happened, ‘Will this be your last year?’ And I said, absolutely not. Terrorists are not going to frighten the hell out of me.”
LetsRun friend David Esptein of Sports Illustrated also talked to him as well and Meagher downplayed his heroic actions,
“So I ran, then the barricades and the snow fencing were there. The police started racing over there, and they all had their guns out. And then the medical people all came over. I want to get in there and help someone, so my reaction was, when there was an opening to go, I started, but then I stopped. I said to myself, ‘They’re experts, you’re not an expert. They know how to treat these things, you don’t. Stay right here.’
“They were taking people away in stretchers, the bodies were mangled. All I could think was ‘Oh my God.’ As I said, if that’s what war is like, I couldn’t be a soldier.”
We’re not so sure about that. Meagher reacted very heroically.
More on Meagher: Boston Magazine Piece on Meagher: “This Is What I Am, This Is Me: Exeter to Dartmouth Street.”
Sports Illustrated: The Finish Line Official Gives His Perspective