- Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 16:41
- Published on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 16:41
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On April 15, Michele Tritt accomplished her dream of a lifetime. In spite of the bombing tragedy that will forever be embedded in the memories of Americans, the King George native, and current Kailua, HI, resident finished the 117th running of the Boston Marathon in three hours, 39 minutes, and 13 seconds—40 minutes before the bombing incident took place. Her personal goal was to finish the race with a time of 3:40.
More importantly, Tritt’s charitable fundraising endeavor for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation will strike a substantial blow in the fight against cancer. Inspired by fellow King George native Wesley Berry’s fight against the dreaded disease, and the passing of her friend Diane Hunt, Tritt has dedicated her athletic life to finding a cure for the disease that affects millions throughout the world.
Tritt placed 491st out of 3,247 in the women’s 40- to 44-year-old age group, and 11,034th overall in the world’s oldest annual marathon. Over 27,000 runners participated in the 26.2-mile marathon. Tritt qualified for the event after meeting the gender and age group standard with a time of three hours, 41 minutes during the 2011 running of the Rock & Roll Savannah Marathon.
With the names of Hunt and Berry on the back of her T-shirt, Tritt’s journey along the marathon route took on a new meaning. With thousands of spectators cheering her on, she felt the wind beneath her feet and the heartfelt sentiment of the Boston communities. With kids lining the streets to pass out lunches, licorice, pretzels, water and Gatorade, and supply tents set up everywhere along the race route, runners were given the red carpet treatment throughout the event.
Among the many race benefactors, the Boston Athletic Association was the primary sponsor for the legendary event.
“It was like running from King George to Colonial Beach, where each town in between would come out and support you,” Tritt said. “There was never a place on the course, where there wasn’t somebody cheering. The screams were so loud, they roared above the music on my iPod.”
When Tritt crossed the finish line, her mission was accomplished. She, along with her support team of fellow KG natives, Kristine Hill and Amy Ackerman, returned to their hotel, where they were shocked to find out that a bombing had taken place, resulting in injuries and deaths.
“It was cheerful and scary, because they (police) didn’t want anybody to leave—we were in lockdown at the hotel,” Tritt said. “There were parents, sisters, brothers, wives, and husbands crying as they waited to hear from their loved ones that were still out on the course. Fortunately, many runners ran with cell phones, and one by one people were checking in. It was a huge relief.”
During the immediate search for the bombing culprits, cell phone service was temporarily interrupted. Tritt, along with many others, utilized Facebook to communicate with their families and loved ones. Shortly after the incident, Tritt’s husband had received 25 calls from people who were concerned for her safety. After checking her cell phone, there were 130 new messages left for her from concerned friends and family members.
“Even though there is evil everywhere, there is so much good that triumphs over evil every day,” Tritt said, regarding the bombing incident. “I don’t want people to remember the Boston Marathon for the evil things that took place, I’d rather for it to end on a positive note, and for people to remember how much good came out of the day, as well.”
Passionate about physical fitness, and the fight against cancer, Tritt vows she will continue to run. “I definitely will never stop running, it’s a part of me, and who I am,” Tritt added. “I will keep looking for the next challenge. The two goals in my head now are the Swim Around Flat Island (Kailua, HI) competition, and to do a half ironman someday.”
Another goal of Tritt’s is to return to King George within a year to start a community running club. “I love running, and I love it when other people are running,” Tritt said.