GREEN BAY — Dr. Jeremy Metzler says, until the last year, the most he’d ever run was 2 miles or so at a time.
“There will be 36,000 runners in Boston,” said Metzler. “Most will probably be far ahead of me.”
Metzler is a sports medicine doctor at Prevea Health in Green Bay, currently training to run the Boston Marathon, his first 26.2 mile race.
“Boston, what happened last year, was that motivation [to run],” said Metzler.
Metzler was not just moved by the tragedy at last year’s race: he was there. Metzler was in Boston shadowing the medical team at the Boston Marathon. He was in the race’s large medical tent when the first explosion went off near the finish line.
“All of a sudden, people started running in from the outside saying what happened,” said Metzler. “I just grabbed some gloves and headed out running down towards where the first bomb exploded.”
Metzler says he helped transport victims back to the medical tent (he’d later see himself in pictures of the scene in newspapers). The doctor says the medical team and response from area hospitals was as good as it could be, and he didn’t stop to think much about what had happened in the aftermath of the bombing.
“At the time, you don’t think about what caused it,” said Metzler. “You just kind of go out there and take care of patients.”
Metzler says he handled the stress well, though the emotion really hit him when one of the bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was caught by police in Boston. After the ordeal, though, Metzler found motivation to run. He asked for, and received, an exemption to run in this year’s Boston Marathon, being held on April 21st.
“It’s to honor what happened during that time and to honor those individuals,” said Metzler. “Their lives changed forever, my goal is to change my life forever as well.”
Metzler says he is down 30 pounds, good for himself and a good example for his two young daughters; the youngest of which, he says happily, only knows her dad as a regular runner.
“Everyone thinks about 9/11, you hear about the wars going on and all those bombs,” said Metzler. “Nothing ever hit that close to home for me.”
The original goal was to just cross the finish line, though the doctor has seen his times improve over the course of his training runs. He also says he can now empathize in a very real way with the countless runners he’s treated over the course of his career.