At Mile 25 on the Boston Marathon route, Christie Freund, 8, held out a glass of water for her sister, Katie Freund, who was among the pack of runners nearing the end of the 26.2-mile marathon. In all the commotion, another runner grabbed the cup, so Christie scrambled for another cup just in time.
"The guy gave me a refill," Christie said.
It was hot that day compared to other Boston Marathons of years past, but the sight of Christie and the water motivated Katie Freund.
"She was on the course and handed me a water," said Katie Freund. "It was fun to see her there. I had a little cheering section."
But the crowd and all the commotion made the marathon stick out in the mind of Katie Freund, a 2002 graduate of West Springfield High, who finished in 3 hours, 35 minutes, 47 seconds. She was 3,007th in a crowd of 20,344 runners on Monday, April 19, in Boston.
"Having the crowd there was great — there were spectators everywhere. Little kids were reaching out to give you high-fives along the way," Katie Freund said.
AMONG KATIE FREUND'S cheering squad along with Christie was her mother, Kathy Freund, and David Kauffman, a fellow graduate from West Springfield, who is now a student at Boston University. The Freunds live in the Orange Hunt community of Springfield, and Christie attends school at St. Bernadette's.
"It was a very warm day. She (Katie) looked much better than I thought. It was quite an accomplishment," Kathy Freund said.
Katie Freund began running at West Springfield High School, where she competed on the track and cross-country team. She is now in her second year at Virginia Tech, where she's majoring in biology and plans to become a doctor. At Tech, Katie Freund didn't go out for the track team, but she does run regularly around the town of Blacksburg. She took first place among the women in her first marathon in Charlottesville last April, and the Boston race was her second marathon.
Marathon Monday around Boston is quite a gala event, known to the locals as "Patriot Day" because it is the anniversary of the battle of Lexington and Concord, which triggered the American Revolution in 1775.
"The whole city is geared up for the marathon," Katie Freund said.
The Freunds arrived in Boston on Saturday, April 17, and Katie Freund competed in a 3-mile warmup race the next day. On Monday, at 12:06 p.m., she was off. Thanks to a Web site that had placed Web-cams along the race route, Katie Freund's father watched her progress from Springfield and gave her mother the play-by-play via cell phone.
As Katie Freund rounded the last corner on Boylston Street, the end was in sight.
"From there you see all the spectators, a wave of runners, and the Hancock Tower at the end. It is so loud, everyone is cheering. It's a great feeling," Freund said.