Previous Next

Mark Roche, Newton Fire house

The support crew

Mark Roche, is the captain of Newton’s Fire Station 2, the red brick building on the corner of Washington Street and Commonwealth Ave. The sharp turn just past the 17-mile mark of the marathon signals the beginning of the infamous Newton Hills—“a huge psychological point in the race,” in the words of Bill Rodgers. “This is where you start gathering your strength,” says the man who won Boston four times. It’s also a perfect spot for locals to cram into any spare sidewalk space, set up picnics and cheer on the runners. And so throughout the years the firehouse corner has served as a rallying spot for runners heading into their final nine miles. This year will be no different. A few days after the bombings, Roche and his fellow firefighters hung a blue and yellow banner on the front of the station. Its message was clear. The banner has stayed up ever since and it will be there this year for every runner who makes the firehouse turn and heads for home.

Damian Strohmeyer for Sports Illustrated
BOSTON: One Year Later