Say what you want about runners, despite our individual quirkiness, we are dedicated to our sport and all those who partake in it. We are a deeply caring and compassionate community. We connect to runners we have never personally met simply because we share the same drive, passion, and love for running. We all run for different reasons and have many different goals but in the end we are all runners. That is our simple connection and that is all that matters.
Last month I posted a 26.2 Mile Salute a tribute to Billy, written by my sister. Billy, an advid and accomplished marathoner, was training for his second Boston Marathon when he un-expectantly pass away. His fellow running community ran in his honor, April 16th, 2012.
One of Billy’s running partners, who honored Billy at his funeral by wearing his running shoes, contacted BAA to let them know that Billy passed away prior to hearing the starting gun of his 2nd Boston Marathon. The kind and compassionate, fellow runners, at the Boston Athletic Association, took the time and effort to gather Billy’s race items and sent them along with a letter of condolence to Billy’s wife.
As you can imagine, the arrival of this un- expected package to Mrs. Blevins home address sparked a variety of emotions. The best I can glean from the email forwarded to me is that she was honored and overjoyed. The personal letter so eloquently ended by saying
“he has fought the good fight and finished the race”
Way to go BAA! What a wonderful and thoughtful way to honor a dedicated runner and his loyal cheerleader. Mrs. Blevins, whom was his biggest fan, was on the sidelines of all of Billy’s races,
I never had the honor of meeting Billy, nor have I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Blevins. However, their story pulls at my heart strings and I feel an indescribable connection to them both. There is no other explanation…it has to be the “runners connection”
Run, Billy Run! There is no pain in Heaven!
Rest in Peace
Jennifer that is well said. There is a connection. I feel it with other runners and I certainly felt a special connection to Billy through running. He was always interested in how Jon and I were doing and what we were training for. He was a cheerleader, too–just like Mrs. Blevins.
Loved reading this Jennifer. Thank you for sharing this with me. This makes me so happy and sad at the same time. Wow. Billy will be in my thoughts at Boston next year.
It is so heart warming, thanks for helping me share.
Jennifer, you are so kind to post Billy’s story. Before Billy retired 2 years ago, he worked with Jeff Dubiel, & Billy loved both he & his wife, Karen. They were so kind to us both with goodie baskets to go with me on ‘away runs’, posters, decorating Billy work cubicle, etc., & then to contact the BAA was HUGH gift to ME and tribute to Billy!! That BAA Packet was a wonderful gift to me & tribute to Billy who died of a heart attack~~truly going the extra “Mile” in Billy’s behalf. I love & appreciate ALL runners….I love to see them on the roads. We never passéd one, of course, without speaking of them & saying a little Go-Runner-Go!! Billy’s Cheerleader even now as much as ever…Barbara Blevins
I am honored to share. Thank you for sharing Billy! You are just as amazing as he is! Much love to you Barbara!
Thank you for sharing, what a lovely story.
your welcome…thanks for reading
I ran with Billy for about 6 years; my only 2 marathons in that time he and Barbara were waiting for me at the Finish Line…she (the awesome Cheerleader that she was) took the first ever picture of me as a “Marathoner”, and I was shaking Billy’s hand as he congratulated me on my accomplishment. What an encourager he was.
In Sept of 2011 Billy and Barbara surprised me be coming to my first Half-Ironman event. They were there the entire time and Billy took over 350 pictures of the event and even put together a 15 minute music video of the day. Billy was such a great friend.
I saw Jeff at Billy’s funeral and was quite taken by his means of tribute (he worn running shoes with his suit)…for that he gets a “well done” from me.
Thank you so much for your post. Much love~runner to runner,
Robert, Thanks for sharing your Billy and Barbara memories. I have never met either one of them but know through all I hear they are/were very special people. I have enjoyed my email conversations with Barbara over the past several days. She is amazing! I hope to meet her personally one day. Heck perhaps I can hire her to be my superfan! That is so awesome they attended your first half-ironman…thats is not a short event. Congrats on that by the way. It is on my bucket list forsure. Thanks again Robert for sharing! Keep Running!