I have been thinking about this post all day and honestly, I’m not even sure I can put into words what I’m feeling. Here goes.
The moment you cross the finish line of your first marathon — quite often, even before then — the Boston Marathon graces your lips and even your mind as you think What if… and wonder if one day you’ll have the opportunity to run the most amazing marathon in the world. And for those that don’t run, they don’t quite understand why it is the most incredible race experience on earth.
There are many factors that make it so wonderful — the journey to get there, the expo that is a step above all others. Gathering with 20,000 people at the crack of dawn in Boston Common to jump on school buses out to Hopkinton. Spending two hours meeting runners from around the world and getting even more amped for the race in Athlete’s Village, before embarking on the trek to the start line… where the air is buzzing with excitement.
From there, you go on a journey through many of Massachusetts small towns. Streets are lined with people of all ages who have pulled out all of the stops for these strangers who fill their towns. These residents spend hours preparing for the runners to come through their city, cutting up oranges into perfect slices; stocking their coolers with mini-bottles of water. They create signs that make you chuckle and make sure they have the right cheers to push you through the race.
When you crest Heartbreak, you are greeted with the cheers and screams of Boston College students before you see a glimpse of the huge Citgo sign of Fenway, a sighting that signals “one mile to go” and turning right on Hereford Street and left on Boylston Street where you see the finish right ahead. The streets are lined with screaming people… people who have no idea who you are, but give you the motivation to kick it for the last .2 miles.
On Monday, someone tried to take this away from all of us. Tried to shatter our dreams, destroy the journey that many have worked years to finish. I don’t think we’ll truly ever understand why someone would do something this horrific.
But what I’ve learned in the past 26 hours is that the running community is resilient. I’ve heard stories of runners who jumped to the aid of those in needs. I’ve recounted the day’s events with other runners in the hotel elevator, trying to determine what the right course of action is moving forward.
And to the city of Boston all I can say is WOW. The people in this city are unbelievable in so many ways. They opened their doors to strangers to give them shelter, food and clothing. To all the police, fire fighters, first responders — they are true heroes. This is a city that has always impressed me with their passion for their city and this love is what makes it so incredible, both in celebration and in times of devastation such as this.
Last night I had several conversations about whether it was appropriate to wear my medal and finisher jacket while we held a somber celebration for the race. And of all the runners I spoke with, we decided YES. Yes because this person — whoever he or she is — will not take away our success and our journey to the Boston Marathon. Their actions will not destroy the fabric of the running community and our accomplishments. And, we wear our medals to recognize and cherish the victims.
I think Thomas Grilk, executive director of BAA, said it best in his statement:
Boston is strong. Boston is resilient. Boston is our home. And Boston has made us enormously proud in the past 24 hours. The Boston Marathon is a deeply held tradition – an integral part of the fabric and history of our community. We are committed to continuing that tradition with the running of the 118th Boston Marathon in 2014.
*** Runners around the world are running for Boston today. Please if you can, #RunforBoston to show your support.
*** Moms RUN This Town has teamed up with Recover brands to create tees (both in men and women) with proceeds benefiting the victims.
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