April 24th, 2014
By Stephanie Choate
A year after his first Boston Marathon experience ended abruptly in chaos, Williston resident Ryan Polly crossed the finish line undaunted on Monday.
“For me, it was about being able to finish what I started,” he said. “I wanted to inspire people to never give up and keep going and prove that hatred isn’t going to stop us from doing what we love to do.”
Despite what Polly described as brutal running conditions, with highs of 72 degrees, he said being able to cross the finish line was a “wonderful” experience.
“From the getting into Boston on Saturday to finishing on Monday was just surreal and emotional in a good way,” Polly said. “The city of Boston was definitely out even more so than last year, supporting the runners. It was just an amazing experience…. It was overwhelming and, of course, there was a sense of accomplishment as well.”
Polly was less than a mile from completing the Boston Marathon last year when bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 250. Polly was among the 5,700 runners unable to finish.
Instead of the celebration day he had planned the weekend after last year’s marathon, he organized a fundraising race in Burlington, raising more than $17,000 for the victims and their families. More than 700 people from all over the world took park in the event, called “Get Moving for Boston.”
Determined to finish his marathon, he helped organize and spearhead a petition to allow the 5,700 runners who didn’t finish in 2013 to run in the 2014 marathon.
“There’s been nothing but determination to finish this race,” Polly said. An injury sustained after a pothole tripped him up only paused his training.
“I was not going to quit,” he said.
With the Boston Marathon now under his belt, Polly is signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October. From there, he has his eye on triathlons, with the ultimate goal of competing in the Ironman triathlon in 2017.