Essays that earned Marathon spots

Karen Kinnaman, 29, Beacon Hill, Boston

"We eat Heartbreak Hills for breakfast!" This was the battle cry of my MIT Cross-Country team when pounding the pavement in Chestnut Hill. Now living and working as a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, I have memorized every mile of the Marathon course. Running Boston has been a long-standing goal of mine. Never has this been more confirmed than in the days after the Marathon Bombing during what I thought would be a routine shift in the [Emergency Department].

A uniformed man barged through the ambulance bay doors screaming "police officer shot." Within 10 seconds, a stretcher was wheeled in carrying a pulseless MBTA police officer with a devastating gunshot wound. He was straddled by his partner performing CPR. We learned that the injury occurred "amidst grenades and gunfire" in nearby Watertown. The deck seemed stacked against us, with no time for calculation or preparation. But the stories from my co-residents on Marathon Monday had been truly inspiring, and surely their courage sustained me on this night. Following a 40-minute-long resuscitation effort, we obtained a pulse.

After days marred by death and destruction, here was a story that yielded life. The bombers may have stolen the innocence of my revered race, shattered the lives of my fellow Bostonians, and hijacked the life of one police officer who provided safety to my college campus at MIT -- but ultimately, this courageous MBTA officer opened his eyes, squeezed his wife's hand, and recovered his strength. So too did Boston. Like in the ED on the night of the Watertown shooting -- I am all in for Boston, and would be greatly honored to "eat Heartbreak Hills for breakfast" on April 21, 2014.

Bruce Mendelsohn, 45, Auburn, Mass.

My name is Bruce Mendelsohn and on April 15, 2013, I saved Victoria McGrath's life. The first bomb exploded just below me while I was at a post-race party with my younger brother (who completed the marathon) at 667 Boylston Street.

Within 30 seconds I was on the scene and wrapped a tourniquet around Victoria's lower left leg. In one of the iconic photos of the marathon bombings, Boston Firefighter Jimmy Plourde cradles Victoria in his arms. I subsequently learned from Victoria's surgeons that the tourniquet I applied saved her life. Over the past six months I have spoken to groups of all ages, sharing my unique story and an inspirational message of help, hope, and healing. That's helped overcome some of the anger the bombing kindled in me.

As a veteran of 17 marathons, I would like to run the Boston Marathon to help bring my personal healing full circle -- and to honor the other bombing victims who cannot run.

I'm applying for one of the available slots because I can envision no greater tribute to the victims, nor stronger statement to the perpetrators, that we are unbowed. On April 21, 2014, I hope to cross the Finish Line where just over a year before I saved the life of a young girl. Thank you for this opportunity and for your consideration.

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