Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 2013 Boston Marathon

For the majority of Americans, yesterday was just another dreaded Monday. There’s a mundane routine in place to head in to work and start another week. For runners, yesterday was different. It isn’t just Monday. It was Marathon Monday, and the annual running of the Boston Marathon.

As you can tell from my blog post yesterday, it’s a very exciting day on the calendar for runners. No matter your location, no matter your skill level, you know that the race is taking place and more than likely know someone participating. It’s a race that people train years for which to qualify, and then undertake many more months of prep for the big event. I’ve had the great opportunity to go through the process twice, and run the Boston Marathon in 2010 and 2011. Its an achievement I’m proud of as a runner, and it holds many of the memories I cherish the most about participating in the sport. Unfortunately, for those runners who were taking part in the 117th Boston Marathon yesterday, many won’t get to share those same memories and revel in their own personal victory of crossing the finish line. It is for those 27,000 marathon runners and their friends and families, many of whom comprised the victims injured by the attack on Boston, that I feel for the most.

My Boston Marathon experiences are much like that of any other runner who takes on the distance in Beantown. There’s the amazement of qualifying, registering and getting accepted in to the race. Then there’s the training that happens for months prior, and the pre-race jitters the week before heading to New England. Once you’ve touched down at Logan Airport, all of that is behind you. The energy of the city overtakes you, and everyone knows as soon as you step off the plane that you’re there with one mission in mind. Picking up your race number at the expo solidifies your status as a runner, and purchasing your Boston Marathon jacket is a rite of passage. Arriving at 4am on race morning in Boston Common to take yellow school busses to the start line in Hopkinton is a small price to pay for the experience you’re about to enjoy. The 26.2 mile jog through Boston suburbs back to where you started the day is worth everything you’ve been through to get to that point. Typically what waits for runners at the end of that journey is a pewter forged medal to wear around your neck, and even more importantly a lifetime’s worth of bragging rights and stories to share with friends. All of that was marred yesterday for past, present and future participants, as well as the people who support them in their journey. It casts a shadow on an event that’s revered in sports, and the entire country was shaken to its core.

I knew several runners participating in this year’s race, which was cut short by two explosives planted near the finish line. Everyone I know in Boston is safe and accounted for, and for that I’m thankful. I’m also thankful for the friends and family that texted and called throughout the afternoon yesterday as the news broke, making sure that I hadn’t made the trip to run. I was safely in my office watching the tragedy unfold on social media, but having people reach out in support was greatly touching and quite consoling.

At this time, details are still sketchy and the person(s) responsible are unknown. To me, however, the “Who?” and “Why?” are unimportant. The victims that were injured in the blasts are by far of the utmost importance and are in the forefront of everyone’s thoughts and prayers in this time of disaster. The person(s) responsible will pay for their crime, and I have no doubt that the 118th running of the Boston Marathon in 2014 will go on as scheduled, probably more successfully than any that has come before.

The City of Boston and the runners that make an annual pilgrimage there are resilient. They encompass much of the spirit that our country was founded on, which includes perseverance, endurance, and the fortitude to stand up for what they believe in. What happened on Marathon Monday 2013 in Boston may have temporarily shaken the structure of a community that extends well beyond that of runners, but much like the pewter that’s handed out on Boylston Street to the race’s finishers, its American Made and meant to withstand the test of time.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I think you're right—Boston will return as a race that's better prepared for these sorts of events (although I suspect all large races will now have heightened security and plans). But Boston will not be timid or cautious. Runners are tenacious, as you well know, and the race will continue to be one of the most inspiring displays of the human spirit.