John has been on a quest to walk the newest part of our town’s Rail Trail 53 times in honor of our friend Mark who passed away at the age of 53 over a year ago. Yesterday evening when we got out of our car with Shea to get ready to walk I overheard the nicest conversation. A young girl maybe 18 was walking along side of an elderly man as they were both finishing their walk on the trail.
The girl was so happy and bubbly as she talked to the man, and we could tell they had just met. She said something like, “Yah this is the best thing, I just found it about a week ago and I didn’t even know we had this beautiful place right in our town.” She was lovely and had so much energy; the older man was just so happy to have this nice girl talking to him and sharing time. It was just an “Easter Blessing” I would say. If you haven’t been yet, maybe that would be a nice thing for you to do with your family over this Easter Weekend. Remember it’s right in front of North School, you can even park right there.
John took this picture of the sign for me. How great is that, we have a new place that will bring us all together? This is exactly what Mark would have wanted and if he were here with us he would be helping to complete more of the Rail Trail and he would be donating his time to do it too.
There were two other signs on the Trail, one said North School is having a very special Rail Trail Day coming up to celebrate this free open space. I can just imagine the nature walks and exercise the students will get from having this right across the street from them. The other sign and we saw a couple of these along the trail is to remind us that we can still make donations. If you’re looking for something nice to do for others this Easter, make a donation “big” or “small” to help complete another section of that beautiful trail.
John told me to complete “One” mile of the Rail Trail it cost $100,000 dollars. I had no idea! You probably would have never guessed that either! I know it sounds like a lot, but once you walk “Mark’s Mile” across from North School, and down toward the highway, you will understand why! It’s just one of those gifts that you can’t put a price on.
Take your family there over the Easter Weekend and talk to your children about beauty, nature, exercise, and “Giving”. Pick a number your family can afford $5, $50 or more, and have them make the donation with you. When you get home write the check and address the envelope with them or show them how to do it on line. Have them include a little note or picture even. Talk to them about the “blessing” that someday this trail will connect to Manchester, Derry, Salem and beyond. They might be walking it with their children someday and grandkids, too.
Another Easter Blessing that will be happening this Monday is our Boston Marathon. I think it’s beautiful that it will be taking place the day after Easter. I believe that was a meant to be. It’s as though there will be Devine Intervention there with each runner to keep them safe and to help us all live Boston Strong together. I just stopped to check the weather and I think that too will be a gift from God to the runners.
One of the weather sites is predicting it will be 53ish and cloudy. This will be a perfect day for running. It really doesn’t get much better than that. Mark always said that when you are running you can add 20 degrees onto the temperature outside and that’s how you will feel on the course. So for Mondays Marathon Runners it will feel like about 73 degrees to them. Shorts, tanks, and lots of water, pretty close to ideal.
Two years ago I was blessed to be able to run “Jog” the Boston Marathon, the last year before everything happened. A few days before the marathon I received a call from a runner and friend in Raymond, Andrea. She said she wanted to meet me briefly and that she had something she needed to give me. I was baffled but we met in the Rite Aid Parking lot in Derry. Here is a picture of what she gave me.
As Fate would have it, it was a book that many years ago I had read at an Inn in Boston, when my dream of running the marathon didn’t even seem like a possibility. When you slide the book out of the sleeve it opens up like an accordion and what I loved was one it was easy to read and two it takes you along the entire course and shares “stories” with you about each section of the run. When I was done reading it years ago, it took less than an hour, I carefully put it back on the library self and never thought I would see it or one again.
Andrea had called me to give me this book. Through our “van” windows she told me the story of how when she ran her Boston Marathon that “out of the Blue” a runner had called her and said he needed to give her something before she ran.
From what I could tell and no one knows for sure, I think a runner name Dan ran the Boston in 2006. I think he might have asked a couple runners there with him to sign this as a memory for him. He decided to pass it on with the “dream” that it would continue to live on with other runners of the Marathon through the years. Andrea explained to me that my quest would be to find another runner the next year and pass it to them so that the legacy could continue. It seems so very strange to me, that last year I really thought about finding the right person to pass it to, but I just didn’t. I knew many runners who would be there, but I held tight to it.
I really wasn’t sure I would “give it up” this year either and then just a few days ago, with a very strange unexpected phone call all that changed.
Our Teddy from Giovanni’s Roast Beef and Pizza had told me months ago I should give an amazing Physical Therapist Michele Holland a call about something completely not related. I never followed through on the call, but for whatever reason last week I did. I called her physical therapy Office, Performance Rehab. Inc. in Nashua. I have heard it is the very best place if you need Physical Therapy or Injury Prevention. I never expected I would be able to talk with her on the phone. I planned to just leave a message. The receptionist was a great guy who put me right through to Michele.
Through the years our paths have crossed many times but fate just never allowed for us to share much more than quick Hi’s and great to see you’s. We talked about the reason for my call and then started talking about running. Mark was a friend to everyone and he had brought many of us together for fun runs through the years. Out of the blue I asked her if she was doing the Boston Marathon this year and she said yes.
This may sound corny, but suddenly I got “Chills” I had found “My Runner” to pass the book onto. When I told her the story of the book and we talked about the love of running that our friend Mark had, I knew she felt the same way on the other end of the call. I can’t even put into words how I felt. I thought this year would pass too, and I would hold the book again. Andrea had stressed to me it didn’t have to be shared each year, that only when the right person came along. When I called Michele this was the farthest thing from my mind. I’m getting chills again just typing it to you. To me that was another Easter Blessing.
I asked Michele if she could meet today so that I could pass this gift onto her. I stopped writing to you so that I could complete my quest.
I didn’t really understand why God had put Michele in my path this week, but after we hugged and got pretty teary, I understood why. Oh no I’m getting teary again trying to type to you now. Michele explained to me that this will be her 7th year running the Boston Marathon. She was there last year when our New England world changed. Michele was at mile 25 when she was told she had to stop. It was a nightmare for everyone there and all of us watching it on TV, through our computers or phones.
She also told me that a month later on Memorial Day runners and their families were invited to run the last mile. They started at Kenmore Square and ran to the finish line at Copley. Here is a picture of Michele with her son Sean at the end. Michele said it was a beautiful time of healing, tears and remembering for everyone.
Say a little prayer for all of the Runners that will be out there on Monday, they will be carrying a little piece of our hearts with them each step of the way xo
With a Grateful Heart and an Easter Prayer, Sherry
The amazing thing about being part of Visit Londonderry is that I never know exactly where a week will lead. Even though I have lived here since the 60′s, grew up at Kendalwood Condos, taught at the High School, and raised my family here, each day I learn something special about our community. One thing is for sure, Londonderry is the best place to Live, Work and Play! Each week I will share with you some of the amazing businesses and things I have learned about Londonderry.
Sherry is an account manager for the Londonderry Commerce and Visitors Center. You can follow her at Twitter.com/Sherry_CVC
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