Of the over 30,000 participants in this year’s Boston Marathon, 17 of those were from Saskatchewan, including the President and CEO of PotashCorp.
Jochen Tilk, an avid runner, has taken part in 9 of the last 12 Boston Marathons, including Monday.
Tilk says the city is “incredibly open to the runners”, and says it’s one of his favourite events to take part in.
He also ran in 2013, the year two bombs detonated near the finish line, killing 3 people and wounding more than 250 others. Tilk says he was in a hotel about a block and a half from Boylston Street, where the finish line is located, and recounts texting his family and friends because he had run a good time. Tilk says after the two bombs went off, “I went to the window, and I could see smoke coming from around the corner, and then within seconds people were screaming and running”.
The next year, in 2014, Tilk returned with a friend to take part in the marathon. Tilk says “we decided that we just wanted to enjoy the crowd, and it was one of the most beautiful runs”. Tilk says people turned out “by the millions”, and the Boston Strong slogan was on display throughout the city. Tilk says, “I thought then, obviously they’re mourning for the people and there’s always a moment to remember and a moment of silence, but people had really demonstrated that they would not be put down by this event”. A cross and flowers are now at the scene where the bombs exploded to remember the victims.
In this year’s marathon, Tilk says the event has returned to, “as normal as it ever gets”. He says you can’t take any bags into the athlete village, and there has been heightened security, but says while he runs, there’s not a noticable change from before the bombings. He says more people have become engaged in the marathon than before, ensuring the event will continue.
To train for the Boston Marathon, Tilk says he wakes up 5:30 a.m. most days so he can fit in running with his work schedule.
Tilk says he’ll be signing up again for the 2018 Boston Marathon.