26345. While this number most likely doesn’t mean anything to many people, it represents closure for Boston native Taylor Landes.
Landes, a fifth-year in international studies, will compete in her first Boston Marathon on April 20 as runner number 26345. She, along with thousands of others, will run the marathon knowing that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of all 30 counts of which he was accused.
On April 15, 2013, Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three were killed, and more than 260 were injured.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed days after the bombing while attempting to flee from law enforcement officers who were trying to arrest him. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested and taken into custody after hiding from police in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Mass.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial, which officially began on March 4, ended Wednesday as the jury returned 30 verdicts of “guilty.” Seventeen of the 30 convictions are capital charges, which means that he might face the death penalty.
The conclusion of the trial comes nearly two years after the 2013 Boston Marathon and the devastating attack that came with it.
Landes was only one of the many people watching the 117th Boston Marathon two years ago and recalled the events.
She talked about growing up in Boston and attending the marathon every year with her family. It had become a tradition to go to the marathon and Red Sox game every year. However, the 2013 marathon proved to be a life-changing experience.
“We had been there (at the finish line) for about 10 or 15 minutes. I was actually looking away from the finish line, and we heard an explosion,” she said. “By the time I registered the cloud of smoke, the second bomb went off.”
Landes was not alone in her confusion, as hundreds of other onlookers scrambled to either flee the scene or help the injured.
In the following months, she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by being so close to such a devastating event.
But Landes said she hopes that running the marathon this year will bring her the closure she needs.
“I wanted to get back on Boylston Street and just be back at the finish line,” she said.
Landes also said she kept updated on the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, especially during live testimonies.
“That was emotional,” she said of the testimonies. “I thought I had it bad coming out with PTSD … To hear the stories of the other victims just made it an emotional experience.”
When she saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s conviction today, Landes said she experienced a “rush of relief,” but not happiness.
“I’ll never say happiness because it’s never good to see someone get convicted,” she said, but added that she feels no sympathy.
The outcome of the trial did not only affect those who were in attendance at the marathon in 2013. Jon Anderegg, a lecturer for the OSU School of Communication, is currently teaching a class about media and terrorism and explained how events like this can be affected by the media.
“One of the interesting things about this is that there’s been several hundred terrorist plots we’ve seen since 9/11, none of which have really been successful,” he said. “This was the first one that seemed like it had a pretty big effect on our society.”
Anderegg said the most important thing people should keep in mind after events like this is that it is a sad series of events for everyone impacted — not just the victims.
“The story of his (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s) life and the tragedy of his life — it should be remembered that there are multiple stories,” he said. “At some level, we should try to understand all stories and not just reinforce our own understanding of events.”
Landes, who has only been training for the marathon for a few months, said she is determined to finish the race.
“I just know for the experience that I just want to finish and enjoy the day,” she said. “If I end up crawling across (the finish line), I don’t really care.”