The Finish Line Hero
He began running in local five and ten kilometer aces and eventually started training beyond Newark city limits. At the beginning of his sophomore year, Noah started traveling around the Bay Area with his family to participate in a variety of races and charity events. By the time he reached his senior year, Noah made the prestigious All County Cross Country team and qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, all marathon participants must be at least 18 years old, which forced him to wait a whole season before being able to run in this honorable event.
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For the next year Noah trained relentlessly, determined to succeed n 17th Annual Boston Marathon. Finally, on Saturday April 13th, after four years of training and anticipation, Noah Flack boarded a plane to Boston. “l had butterflies for days before leaving. I had never been so excited for a race in my life”, he explained, unaware of the events that lurked ahead. Noah arrived in Boston the morning before the race and described it as “the friendliest city with such happy people. Everyone I met had the biggest smile on their face. Bostonians pride themselves on their food, sports teams, and most importantly, the marathon. Attracting nearly 60,000 people each year, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon and is ranked as the world’s best-known road racing event. The Dorchester Reporter compared Boston to “Christmas morning” the day of the marathon. This no surprise considering the entire city gets the day off work and school to flood the streets for this historical event. When he pulled up to the drop off area, Noah nervously Jumped out of the car and pinned race bib number 3809 to his shirt.
The course begins in Hopkins, Massachusetts, so Noah and his fellow runners loaded their bags of essential items onto city buses so hey could pick them up at the finish line on Boylston Street, located in the heart of downtown Boston. On April 15th at am, thousands of excited spectators lined the city streets cheering as Noah and 27,000 other runners dashed across the starting line. “Exhilarating” was the feeling Noah felt as he weaved between beautiful skyscrapers and historical monuments. “The closer you got to the finish line, the noise kept increasing and increasing.
It was amazing. ” Noah Flack finished the marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 1 minute, but his noble actions after the race will be remembered for years to come. At 2:49 pm, the first bomb shook Boston. Flack finished the race about an hour and a half prior and was resting in a massage area a few blocks from the destruction of the bomb. When a police officer frantically ordered an evacuation after the unexplained explosions, Flack said he “didn’t even think twice” and worked his way brave decision to return to the finish line, cadet Flack responded, “Vive always been an Army kid.
Ever since first grade I rolled around in my cargo pants; it’s part of who I am. My time in ROTC really reinforced the Army values of selfless service, duty, and honor. I was okay, but I knew that there were people out there who needed help, so I went back. ” When he approached the remains of the finish line, Flack painted a scene of “absolute chaos” as thousands of people darted in every direction. He witnessed frantic first responders, weeping mothers, screaming children, and helpless victims searching for their limbs.
He vividly recalled a crying woman who had witnessed Martin Richards, an 8-year old spectator, be killed by the initial blast. For seven strenuous hours, Noah risked his own safety to assist distraught bystanders and unload thousands of runners’ unclaimed bags from the buses. The Boston Harold named Noah the “finish line hero”, but he denies that his selfless actions were anything out of the ordinary. Despite all of the terror and fear that filled the streets of Boston, Flack describes, “A sense of unity unparalleled. It didn’t matter who you were; you wanted to help. Thousands of runners who hadn’t finished the race or picked up their bags were without their cells phones, money, or clothes. Many runners were left stranded, wearing nothing but thin shorts as 40-degree winds whipped through the city streets. Bostonians kindly took runners into their homes to arm up. Food, water, blankets, and shelter were being given out by locals trying to help in any way they could. Kindness and compassion radiated the cobble streets despite the tragic events that had Just occurred. “They chose to mess with the wrong city,” Flack proudly stated when describing the scene of Boston after the blasts.
By the time the mayhem was over, it was around pm. Flack was still unloading baggage and helping the volunteers, but his ride to Worcester, a neighboring town, had arrived to pick him up. “It Just felt so great to help people. I didn’t want to leave. Noah tossed and turned in the dorm room of a friend that night because he kept reflecting on the events that had Just unfolded before his eyes. The next morning, Noah Flack reluctantly boarded a plane back to California, leaving behind a city that changed him forever.
At first, returning to the real world was a difficult transition. Noah had Just experienced this life-altering event, and although Cal Polls flags were at half mass, normal life carried on. As he stepped on campus, it seemed as if he had become a super star overnight. He was the topic of every conversation and was declared a hero by nearly every teacher on campus. However, Noah reiterated, Mimi don’t need to volunteer during a catastrophic event to be a hero. Simply smiling can save someone’s life. ” This was Just one of many lessons Noah learned while in Boston.
Indeed Nosh’s life has changed externally, but the real transformation occurred internally. He recalled going to class the first day he returned, and overhearing a group talk about their parties and students incessantly complaining about midterms. It was then that he realized these things that used to concern him were “So trivial. Things could so much worse and there are too many things in life to be grateful for. He has gained a new perspective and appreciation for his life. Although many would view Nosh’s experience in Boston as a tragedy, he calls it “A blessing in disguise. Only a sliver of people will ever see. “Whenever I’m feeling bummed, I Just think ‘It’s a great day; I am so blessed I’m breathing, I can walk, and more importantly, I’m alive! ” During the two weeks Noah has been back in San Luis Obis, he has felt somewhat directionless, but he knows traveling to Boston was “part of His plan. ” Noah explained how his priorities have been straightened out since returning from Boomtown. He now calls his parents every night and has strengthened his relationship with his fellow ROTC cadets and cadres, friends, and God.
Rather than dwelling on the past, Noah is turning his attention to community service. Marathon season might be over, but Nosh’s running career is far from finished. Flack plans to be a part of something bigger than himself and organize a “mini marathon” fundraiser. He hopes to partner with Cal Poly to give back to Boston, the city that taught him so much. Enema I volunteered a little bit after the race”, Noah finished, “but to be honest, those people helped me more than I could ever help them. ”