Everyone who ran in, attended, watched, supported the Marathon last year keenly felt the effects of the day and what followed. For many of us, those feelings will come flooding back this year on April 21. But runners training for this year’s Boston Marathon are deep into that experience already.
That’s why Team Brookline is drawing on the expertise of a special coach this year: a mental health expert who will talk with the Team as part of its training regimen.
Team Brookline is the town of Brookline’s official Boston Marathon team. Team Brookline’s 42 runners (including 8 runners who were unable to complete the 2013 race when it was halted after the bombing) are aiming to raise over $200,000 for four core Brookline non-profits: the Brookline Community Mental Health Center, which manages the Team; Brookline Education Foundation; Brookline Library Foundation; and Brookline Teen Center.
Dr. Larry Abrams, a psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Brookline Community Mental Health Center, counsels runners and spectators on how the impact of trauma can be triggered and re-experienced: “When we experience trauma,” he notes, “we strive to get some sense of mastery over feelings of being out of control and unsafe. As memories of that day a year ago get refreshed in feelings, images or bodily sensations, it is important to remind ourselves that this is a normal reaction to the anniversary of a trauma. Let your feelings emerge, and attach them to the memory of the past.” Dr. Abrams will meet with Team Brookline one month ahead of the race to discuss this issue as a group, and will be available to team members who wish to consult with him during the days leading up to the 2014 race.
For Team Brookline’s runners, strength comes from community: they are choosing to run together in support of a shared, powerful cause. In all, 10 Team Brookline 2013 runners are on the current team roster: two finished the race last year and the other eight are back to finish what they started. The memory of the bombings serves as extra motivation, say many of them in their personal profiles (firstgiving.com/brooklinecenter/fundraisers): I’m “doing my part to restore the Boston Marathon to what it has stood for over 100 years.” I want to “rise above the tragedy and reclaim our marathon for runners everywhere.” “In honor of the victims and all those affected by the marathon bombings…” “In the spirit of love and support…” “I want to run for others and I want it to count to the fullest.”
“Extra motivation can offer inspiration,” says Dr. Abrams, “but sometimes we take too much on our own shoulders. It’s essential for all of us, and this year’s Marathon runners especially, to make sure we are remembering but not reliving last year’s difficult experiences.”
“Brookline is an extraordinarily resilient community, with resources to support our neighbors in so many ways,” says Melvin Kleckner, Town Administrator. “Team Brookline serves a special role this year, rallying us all with energy and optimism in support of Brookline and far beyond.”
“National discussion is raising awareness of the importance of good mental health, and of the need to de-stigmatize mental health challenges that many in our community face,” says Nancy Vineberg, Brookline Community Mental Health Center VP of Development. “All four Team Brookline beneficiary organizations contribute to the supportive network of Brookline. The Brookline Community Mental Health Center is committed to helping all individuals and families feel better, function more effectively, and experience life more fully, and we will make sure our runners have that support as well.”
For more information, to read the runners’ profiles and to support the Team, please visit online at brooklinecenter.org/marathon.
Editor's note: When first published, this post stated that town employees were organizing the effort. The effort is being organized by residents and non-residents.
Submitted by Team Brookline.