WBUR Oral History Project: Shane O'Hara
Interviewed by: Joanna Shea O'Brien
Date: March 11, 2014
Location: Boston Public Library (Boston, MA)
Recorder: Kristi Girdharry
Photo: Shane O'Hara (left) with running club member Stephen Dragoni (right) at The Hyannis Half Marathon (Photo by Joanne O'Hara)
Shane O’Hara grew up in Otego, a small town in Upstate New York. His father and his uncles were dairy farmers, and he spent his childhood on a dairy farm mostly playing outdoors with his three older siblings. Shane played year round sports—football, basketball, baseball and volleyball—but he never thought of himself as a runner. After having a positive professional experience for a major retailer in New York, he decided to move to Boston to be closer to his brother and sister. Because of his love of sports, he ended up applying for a retail job at Marathon Sports in Cambridge, MA in April of 1994. He became friends with Colin Peddie, owner of Marathon Sports, and found his calling in the world of running shoes and sports retail within the Boston running community. Even though Shane doesn’t consider himself a distance runner, he completed the Boston Marathon with a relatively good time and now leads weekly runs with a local Boston running club that meets at Marathon Sports.
In his oral history, Shane talks about Marathon Sports’ prime location at the finish line on Boylston Street, his typical workday, what it’s like leading up to the Boston Marathon every year, and marathon day itself. He vividly describes the bombings that took place directly outside of the store and how he and his staff tried to help people who were severely injured and disoriented. Shane shares how he and a co-worker had to leave the store in complete disarray as Boylston Street was closed down by law enforcement, how he found other staff and Marathon Sports owner Colin Peddie on the streets shortly after, and how he finally reunited with his wife.
Audio Clip 1
Shane talks about the difference between team sports and distance running, and he discusses running with the weekly running club at Marathon Sports.
Audio Clip 2
Shane describes the scene in the store, and he discusses making split second decisions on who to treat in the minutes after the bomb exploded.
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