Christopher Anderson, 38
I am married with two children, and I am running Boston this year with a charity team: American Liver Foundation. I ran with this team last year, and as a result of not being able to finish, I was given a guaranteed entry by the BAA. I did not have to run this year with the A.L.F. but chose to continue with them again. They are a great organization — they have a mission that I not only believe in, but also have benefited directly from as a liver transplant recipient in 1999.
I got into distance running a year and a half ago as a challenge to myself. I had done 5Ks and was running to keep in shape for work but wanted to see how far my body will take me. My current PR for the marathon is 4:35. I would like to finish this year close to 4 hours.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
I am running Boston to not only to finish and take back the finish line for myself, but also for those who can’t, those whose lives were taken or are still recovering. Last year, my goal was to finish at 4 hours. My family was supposed to be the finish line waiting for me. I cramped up around the hills and my wife, tracking my progress on her phone, recognized that I would be late finishing and decided to go to the Liver Team reception room at the hotel. She left just before the tragedy unfolded. The range of emotion, from what could have been … to all the hard work and sacrifice put into training [was incredible]. This year will be a closure to that day last year.
What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to conquering the hills and running into Boston to the finish line. My most memorable moment last year was leaving Hopkinton and running down the hill — all you could hear was the sound of rubber on pavement. It was a very zen moment, everything was quiet except for that sound [of pounding feet]. No one talking, no one clapping, no cheering. Just running.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
Boston Strong to me is the resiliency to move forward in the face of tragedy. I said to my wife after we were reunited at the hotel last year, “I am running again, I have to.”
Who is coming out to support you this year?
My sister and her husband will be traveling from Las Vegas this year to watch the race. My sister and I will run together in the BAA 5K on Saturday. She began running after the marathon last year.
What is your race-day goal?
My race day goal is to finish strong and show that no one can take away our finish line!
Chris’s wife, Becky, wrote a letter recalling the events of last year’s Boston Marathon. Here is an excerpt from her emotional experience on April 15, 2013:
“I know we will be OK. I know that every day is a new day and that I can’t worry about what will happen tomorrow or the day after that or six months from now — or at the marathon next year, if Chris does actually run it. I have to stay in the here and now. By the same token, I can’t let myself get lost in what could have happened. When I start to think about the fact that if things had been just a LITTLE different — if Eric [father-in-law] hadn’t been with me, or if Chris had been on pace to finish when expected — that my children could be without one or both of their parents tonight, I feel frozen to the spot. I know it will lift eventually, but my heart is heavy. I hope in the long term when I’m looking back, I can identify this time of my life as one that ultimately yields positivity or a positive change for the better. Right now, though, I am truly sad and lost.”