Mackey: This year’s Boston Marathon will be different

PARKERSBURG – Washington, W.Va. resident Tim Mackey missed out on running in last year’s traumatic Boston Marathon.

However, he will be in Beantown Monday to participate in this year’s race, knowing full well that things have changed since he was there in 2009.

Mackey, 42, realizes things are going to be different this year, through e-mails he has received from the Boston Athletic Association that runs the event. “They’ve kept us runners informed of the changes they’ve made in how things will be done or handled,” he said.

And with every change comes stricter rules and tightened security. “Before,” Mackey said, “I could pack up everything I needed – extra towel, jacket, change of clothes, something to eat at the end of the race – in a backpack or bag and they’d take everyone’s stuff to the finish line and you could claim it there after the race. That’s not going to happen this year, so I’ve got to make other arrangements for that stuff that I need after the race is over.”

Especially, added Mackey, “since the start of the race is 26 miles from (downtown) Boston,” where it ends.

Mackey, who grew up in Vienna, moved back to the area nine years ago and is an engineer at DuPont.

Mackey has been running “nonstop” since he was on his 5th grade track team, and his first marathon was in 2002 in Akron, where he was living then.

This will be Mackey’s second Boston Marathon. In his first in 2009, he ran a 3:25.

Mackey explained that “the time that I had in the Columbus (Ohio) Marathon in 2012 of 3:11, which is my best marathon time,” qualified him for this year’s Boston Marathon. That’s because the Columbus race is held later in the year in October, and the registration deadline for the 2013 Boston Marathon had already passed by. “But it did qualify me for their 2014 race,” said Mackey.

Running in the Boston Marathon is “important” to Mackey “because it’s more like the Olympics than anything I’ve ever been in.”

On last year’s dual bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line, Mackey said, “It was a horrible thing that happened.”

Mackey was at work that day when he saw on TV the tapes of the bombs exploding last April 15. “People at work who didn’t know I wasn’t there (in Boston) were worried about me, and some people called to see how I was and were relieved when I told them I wasn’t there,” said Mackey.

He personally felt a little bit miffed by “what they (the bombers) tried to do that day. It’s important that what happened there last year doesn’t deter us from living our lives.

“That is their purpose – to make us scared and afraid to live our lives, to make us worry about everything and everybody.”

Mackey equates the after effect or shock of the marathon bombing to that of 9-11.

“I was on an airplane not too many days after 9-11,” he said. “You can’t let that fear of something bad’s going to happen hang over your whole life.”

Mackey got to know the people of Boston when he was there before, so wasn’t surprised by their resolute attitude and their resilient mindset after the bombings that things have to go on. “Not that they aren’t concerned, everyone is; it’s just that they’re not afraid to go forward,” said Mackey

He said the “Boston Strong” motto the city adopted last year after April 15 – when the bombs threw the city into a tizzy, only to see it bounce back stronger than ever – “fits the city and its people perfectly.”

Mackey left for Boston Saturday and will return home this week after Monday’s marathon.