Elvira Hall

Good luck to all of the People of Memorial Park who are competing in the Boston Marathon on Monday! I have included Elvira in this page a couple times already, but want to highlight her incredible experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon. As a young woman coming out of college, one of the items on Elvira’s bucket list was to run a marathon. She entered the 2012 Houston Marathon and, as she neared the finish line, she was elated to realize she had run fast enough to qualify for Boston. Elvira promised her husband that if he would endure her spending the time to train for Boston, she would run “one more” marathon, and then she would be done with marathon training forever. She crossed the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 58 minutes and was immediately whisked to a medical tent because she was severely dehydrated. As the paramedic was inserting the IV into her arm, the first bomb went off. She said the tent became eerily quiet because no one knew what to do. Everyone just stared at the entrance to the tent. The next thing she remembers, a man staggered in carrying another gentlemen who had lost his leg. Elvira can't remember when the second bomb exploded but at the very moment it did, she felt she was going to die that day. She asked if she could leave the tent to go help the people who were really hurt, but the doctors refused to allow her. The nurses kept moving her, and the tent became crowded with a steady flow of injured spectators and runners who continued streaming in. As she sat there observing the chaos and the blood, she she asked a nurse to join her in prayer.  After praying with the nurse, Elvira decided she could not bear to watch the tragedies that were unfolding in front of her, so she closed her eyes and just sat there. After about 30 minutes, the doctor finally agreed to let her leave. Even though she had been calm inside the tent, when she finally emerged and saw her husband, Eric, she began to sob. Over the next few weeks, she suffered from severe anxiety attacks. She kept hoping that she would wake up one morning and realize it was all just a dream. A week after they returned home to Houston, Eric decided to take Elvira to an Astros game in an attempt to lighten the mood. They arrived at the game a few minutes after it had begun, and just as they walked into the stadium, one of the Astros players hit a home run. A canyon was fired in celebration, but Eric and Elvira’s initial response was to take off running! When they finally realized they were the only ones who were panicking, they stopped in the middle of Minute Maid Park and just held each other and cried. The experience also made her realize that life can end at any minute. Another bucket list item for Elvira is that she wants to finish an Ironman triathlon and get an M dot tattoo. Her only problem was that she did not know how to swim. She decided to face her fear and teach herself how to swim. She spent a couple months in the pool and then entered her first triathlon this past summer. I ran with Elvira at Memorial Park a few days before that race and she confessed that she was worried she may drown during the swim. She was one of the last competitors out of the water, and this photo by Aaron Palaian was taken as she emerged. She was overwhelmed with joy and pride as she move one step closer to being able to finish an Ironman. When Elvira reflects on the 2013 race and how it affected her, she says that one of the things that stands out the most is that the 2012 Houston Marathon was the beginning of a string of events that changed her life. Despite the devastation she witnessed in 2013, she says she wants to return to Boston. She will not give up and will continue to chase that Boston unicorn.