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  • Diana Chandler

Boston pastor runs personal best on 10th anniversary of marathon bombing


Pastor Josh Wyatt ran his personal best time of 03:00:22 in Monday's Boston Marathon. Running on the 10th anniversary of the bombing that killed three people and wounded dozens of others was important for the Boston church planter. (Submitted photo)

BOSTON (BP) – Had it gone as planned, Josh Wyatt’s wife Becky and their three young children would have been outside Marathon Sports when the first explosion blasted the storefront at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.


Wyatt himself was on a plane, hoping to land and join his family as they cheered a family friend who was running the race.


“By the grace of God that morning, one of my wife’s friends talked her out of going to the finish line,” Wyatt, founding pastor of Charles River Church in Boston, told Baptist Press. “They said it would be just too difficult with three young children to meet me there. I’m so grateful to the Lord that she took that advice.”


As Boston marked the 10th anniversary of the bombing, Wyatt’s family – his children now 16, 14 and 12 – and members of his congregation cheered him as he joined a field of 30,000 in the iconic race and clocked a personal best of 03:00:22, he told Baptist Press.


“It was a stark contrast to 2013,” he said. “Ten years later, there was so much joy and excitement, and (we were) just able to see the resiliency of the city, and that was very encouraging. We had lots of folks from our church family scattered throughout the marathon course cheering me on. (There was) lots of joy compared to the horror of that day 10 years ago.”


Charles River Church ministered to the community and first responders after the 2013 bombing that killed three pedestrians on race day, a police officer who was killed in a confrontation with the bombers and a second police officer who died in 2014 of a head injury suffered in pursuing the suspects. Another 281 were injured along the route.


The tragedy lit a fire in Wyatt’s heart. The 2023 race was his third Boston Marathon in a line of several he has run.


“That year when the bomb went off,” he said, “from that point forward there was a draw in my heart towards all things Boston Marathon. I just love the race. I love the people of Boston. From that point forward I just started to feel a tug towards the marathon. I eventually started to do the work to qualify for the marathon, and I0 marathons later I found myself running my first Boston marathon.


“Yesterday I set a personal record and had the best time I ever had.”


Wyatt planted Charles River Church in 2012, and it had about 40 members when the bombing occurred. It has grown to 280 members, with some of them classified as covenant members who have signed church covenants or pledges. Aided by others, the young church distributed care packages to medical workers at Massachusetts General Hospital where many of the injured were taken.


Running the race on the 10th anniversary of the bombing was important to Wyatt.

“It just meant so much to me,” he said. “It means I’m joining so many of my friends in this city who love this city and are excited to see the city bounce back and show its resiliency after just a really horrific season.”


The City of Boston held numerous anniversary events the weekend before this year’s race to honor victims, with family members of those killed participating, Boston.com reported.


Killed in the bombing were Martin Richland, 8; Lingzu Lu, 23, and Krystle Campbell, 28. Police officers who died were Sean Collier in 2013 and Dennis Simmonds in 2014. Many of the injured lost limbs in the bombing.


 





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' senior writer.




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