On April 15, 2013 I was sitting in a dorm room watching the Boston Marathon with my fellow running buddies. Growing up just north of Boston, with a family legacy of track & field, and my uncle Marty as a commentator for NBC for many years, the Marathon was always a family affair. We would go into the city as a family, often at the finish line to watch some of the world’s greatest athletes complete the historic, grueling race. If we weren’t there in person, it was streaming on the TV, just as it is now as I write this reflection.
As much as Goodwear has become a part of the family story, distance running has as well. My father Steve, founder of Goodwear, was an elite runner in his day at Essex Catholic High School in New Jersey, and again at Boston College. His brother Marty was an Olympian, and the third and final high school athlete to break the Four Minute Mile until Alan Webb did it 34 years later. Printing T-Shirts, in Boston - for the BC track team - is where Goodwear truly began.
In 2013, watching that race and seeing the familiar faces on the TV - and sharing the viewing not with my family, but with new friends - was fresh and exciting. Of course, disaster struck, and the culture and history of the Marathon and of Boston itself changed forever.
I made calls, we were all stunned. Steve called the people he knew who were at the finish line when the bombs went off. My friends and I stood and watched the TV in silence, seeing something unfold before our eyes with no concept of how bad, how devastating, or how deadly any of it would be. The events and manhunt following were frightening and unprecedented. It was like time stood still for a few days.
What no one knew was coming, was the incredible, and unimaginable support that came to Boston. In eerie similarity to 9/11, a unifying drive for strength and solidarity with the victims inspired not only the people of Boston, or Massachusetts, but every city across the country and many throughout the globe. “Boston Strong” the rallying cry became, and 10 years later it continues to permeate the culture of the city and the region.
Just one of the many people and groups supporting the One Fund, was the One Run For Boston. Three runners and friends from England raced to support the cause, and devised a plan incredibly close to home at Goodwear: a continuous, cross country relay from LA to Boston, to take place less than 2 months after the bombing. Goodwear produced the shirts, printed by myself and a group of high school volunteers in the office I’m currently sitting in. We quickly turned around over 1000 shirts - each runner in the relay who signed up received one with their donation, and many local Bostonians could be seen sporting the shirts in solidarity. All in all over $500,000 was raised through these runners, this event, and the efforts by this group of friends from across the pond.
The day the late Mayor Menino received the check from the One Run event, the now President of the Boston Athletic Association made a point to thank Steve, and Goodwear, for supporting this cause.
As a volunteer college student at the time, and now here in that same office, my father’s commitment to using his company, resources, and connections to donate and produce something of value for this cause, continues to inspire me. Ten years later, while the Marathon streams quietly in the background, I’m humbled by what Goodwear chose to do, and how obvious it was to Steve to devote the time, funds, and energy to do so. As the first wave approaches the Wellesley Scream Tunnel, the resilience of Boston and the support felt from so many remains on full display.