When Paris firefighter Adam Bolton crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles, the first thing he felt was relief.
“I kept telling myself at about mile 16, ‘I’ll either die or I’ll finish, but either way this will be over with. There’s going to be an end, regardless,’” he said.
Once he realized what he had accomplished, he became more reflective.
“It was nice to hit that end and reflect on what the last year brought that led me there. The successes, the failures,” Bolton said. “Reflecting on whether that feeling I was expecting was the one I was feeling. And it was.”
Bolton spent the past year training for the 2019 New York City Marathon, which he ran to raise money for charity. He set a rate of $200 per mile, raising a grand total of $5,490 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Bolton’s grandfather died of complications with MS, which added a personal connection to the experience, Bolton said.
“Definitely the motivation side because you’re that much more tied into the cost,” he said. “But it’s also better for fundees to know that I’m passionate about it, that it’s a thing that is directly beneficial to people with multiple sclerosis.”
Another factor that struck an emotional chord was the recent death of Bolton’s training partner, Slade Baker, who also was a Paris firefighter.
“He’s the whole reason I got into distance running to begin with,” Bolton said. “Having that motivation to see it through, having those good memories training together, getting to spend time together, made it that much better.”
Bolton had a strong support system on race day, including his family, his girlfriend and her parents to cheer him on.
“I couldn’t do it without my friends, couldn’t do it without my family, couldn’t do it without the support of the fire department,” he said.
As for whether he’ll run another one anytime soon?
“Everybody’s initial reaction is, ‘No, I’m never doing that again,’ which is definitely my initial reaction,” he said, chuckling. “But never say never.”