Back to Boston: six runners share their stories

As these marathoners make their way from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, read their reflections.

Today marks the 118th running of the Boston Marathon and this year perhaps more than ever, the race is about people. We thought long about how to cover this particular marathon here on Q. Runners, and marathon runners in particular, have many needs: pacing strategy, gear recommendations, sources of nutrition, recovery secrets—all subject matters that we cover, and with gusto. But for this particular marathon, we wanted to share stories of the amazing people of the Boston Marathon. We wanted to give those runners the floor.

It was important to us that the stories we feature come from Bostonians. This race is a global event watched and revered all around the world. But it is also very much a Boston event—businesses close, schools break, the Red Sox even bump up their game time to share the limelight. Last year's tragic events only reinforced the pride that Bostonians take in this race, in their town and in each other. They are Boston Strong.

We are so grateful to the six amazing runners featured here in the slideshow. Equinox members Karen Teller and Mary Marshall are quite the pair of running buddies—funny, supportive, and together through it all. Ali Baldassare, group fitness manager at Franklin Street, will be running her third 26.2 and second Boston Marathon today, which is no small feat. Greg Cartin, a member and sports psychologist, had put off signing up for a full marathon year after year until he was inspired to run in honor of those affected. And group fitness instructor Rebecca Pacheco and her boyfriend Dan Fitzgerald, who coached almost 300 runners to the starting line, share those intentions.

Click through the slideshow to read their incredible stories.

To Karen, Mary, Ali, Greg, Rebecca and Dan, we are rooting for you and for all of the Boston Marathoners today. Have a wonderful race.