At one point an ambulance drove by, and she covered her ears. Those noises put her back in Boston, and the panic that followed the bombs.
'You gotta pay it forward'
Early in the morning, the pack of runners looked like a pulsing river of humanity, thousands of heads bobbing down the same stream, churning in a sort of collective, perpetual energy. From afar, it looked like no individual had to expend any effort.
Anyone could do this, I thought. It's like "Finding Nemo." Just keep running.
But around the halfway point, the runners, including Hunt, had thinned out into individual dribs and drabs. It became clear that some might not make it. There were people whose feet barely looked to be leaving the ground. Others were so drenched in sweat they almost looked as though they just popped out of a lake. It was sometimes frantic and painful to watch.
It suddenly made sense why there were medic tents nearby.
Apparently some people's nipples bleed by the time they reach the finish.
Running a marathon really is no joke.
Another person I saw near mile 17 was Gary Woodbridge, 47. He said he was so tired that he had left his earphones in his ears even though his phone had lost power.
Taking out the earphones would be too much effort, he said, smiling.
Woodbridge ran with a name on his bib: Ronota Newberry-Woodbridge.
That's the wife he lost in the Oklahoma City bombing.
"She always wanted to run a marathon and I finally lost enough weight where I thought I could try," he told me before the race. "I'm not getting any younger."
Memories of her, and their runs together, occupied his thoughts.
"I'm still moving," he said. "I feel every step."
Woodbridge waited 11 days to learn his wife was dead. He spent much of that time at First Christian Church, another site on the marathon route, which became a support center for families who were in that limbo. The thing that has helped him move forward from her death is talking to other people, he said. "Your grief is going to be very unique. It's going to be very unique to you," he said. "But there are people who have been through what you've been through."
Reaching out to help others was also important for him. He has volunteered to talk to kids who have lost loved ones. And he went to New York after the 9/11 attacks.
"I was shown so much love" after the Oklahoma City bombing, he said. "You gotta pay it forward."
As I walked back to the car from that spot in the course, I saw a man on one knee in front of a lamppost, one hand on the pole and head bowed.
I assumed he was vomiting. That wouldn't have seemed out of place.
But then I realized there was a banner at the top of the pole -- one of 168 signs with a name of an Oklahoma City victim on it. I gave him some space and then asked, after he'd rejoined the runners, if Antonio "Tony" C. Reyes, the name on the banner, was someone he'd known personally. A friend? A family member?
No, he said. "That's someone I run for every year."
He ran in honor of a stranger.
'Well, run with me'
Hunt found a bigger challenge at the 20-mile mark.