Boston Athletic Association…Honoring a fellow Marathoner and his Cheerleader

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.

Forrest Gump running shoe fashion

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” 

Contents of the package from BAA

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 


Running for Billy….A 26.2 Mile Salute!

(My Sisters tribute to a friends father….I just had to share)

Today Bonnie’s dad,  would have been running in the Boston Marathon, but he died unexpectedly about a month ago. This morning Bonnie put out the challenge to all her family and friends to run the 26.2 miles together for her Dad. When all was said and done, 52.75 miles were logged for Billy in 3 different cities–
Kinston, Richmond, and Chicago.

Everything started at Subway Restaurant in the little town of Pink Hill. Lunchtime conversation with fellow pharmacist turned from prescriptions to the Boston Marathon. My heart immediately sunk. Oh my, this was Billy’s day to run. I knew I would definitely be reaching out to my freind, Bonnie, before the day was done. However, in a quick email check after lunch, I soon found that Bonnie had already reached out to us. She put the challenge out to cooperatively run 26.2 miles for Billy today. My immediate response, “I’m in!”.

For 3 months I was unable to run as I nursed an IT band injury I incurred from training for my first marathon. Then for the past 6 weeks and finally physically able to run again pain free, I had a new struggle. My motivation to hit the pavement was lack luster- at best. All I had mustered up recently were sporadic runs from week to week or sometimes even two weeks to two weeks. Tonight was different. I came home motivated to run. I knew this one was for Billy and for his family that we love. After working all day, I popped a spoonful of peanut butter down the hatch, and laced up my running shoes. I pet the dog and headed out the door. No, I was not waiting for my husband who said he would run with me at 9:30pm. This was it. I knew I had to go.

Now I wish I could tell you that this run was like a Disney movie and that I found great physical strength that I never knew I had and that I completed my run into a beautiful warm and glowing orange sunset and, of course, in record time and with a new personal record. No. Instead, my body struggled like a runner who was out of condition. I ran into the dusk and springtime darkness fighting all the newly hatching bugs as they crashed into my ears, nostrils, and yes, my mouth. My legs cried out, “please just stop”, but as I purposefully ran past the places that I knew meant so much to Billy–the Sullivan house on Sedgefield and the first Sullivan home on Dorcas Terrace, I knew I could do it. Each step I ran I thought of all the beautiful steps–and probably not always so easy steps–that Billy took over the years in helping impact the lives of his special family that we are so lucky to know. I kept going.

Rounding back home after 4 miles, my body was happy to see Margaret Lane, because that meant it was time to hit that magic button on the Garmin watch and let those tired legs rest.  I’ve run many runs over the last couple years,  and I’ve felt the satisfaction of finishing a good race, but this run was different. The satisfaction was deeper and more special.  With my legs slowing to walk, I threw my arms up in the air and spoke to heaven, “That one was for you, Billy.”  Billy ran the Boston Marathon today, but not alone.  Instead, he was in the company of all those who loved him who took on their part of today’s race for him.  I am so glad that I was able to do this very special Boston Marathon for Billy and all the people who love him so much.

Laury S,4 miles  10min 30 sec pace, April 16, 2012

Barbara- Billy’s wife of 47 1/2 years…. shared with me a little about Billy’s accomplishments. It is in the comments but I wanted to make sure is was visible. 

I was married to that Marathon Man, Billy Blevins, for 47 1/2 years!!! It was so sweet of Laury to write & you to post for the world to read. Billy first started running with an 8k in Richmond when he was 60 followed by many Marathons & also qualified for Boston x2 here. He completed 17 marathons including Boston-2006, London-April 2007,Berlin-Oct 2007, NY-2009, Chicago-2010, DC Marine Corp -2011, & VA Beach several times. Your site makes me happy……..Barbara M. Blevins (He died 3-12-12 exactly 5 weeks before Boston of a Heart Attack while sleeping).

Dedicate your next run to Billy!  I know I will!- BoxerRunner