There is a hype surrounding the Boston Marathon that can be difficult to ignore. I found out that I made it into the Boston Marathon last year, a couple of weeks after the Fall Superior Trail 50 miler. I was feeling strong running-wise and I was excited to see what the next year would bring for my still-fairly-new passion.
I just ran Boston this past Monday, and I’m the first to admit that I was slightly skeptical about the whole Boston experience. But as people noticed my Boston paraphernalia and began to stop me on the street, I found myself conversing with other runners about their past experiences with Boston, their running life, and even their general-life. I met some great people who were passionate about the running community that I realized I was being welcomed into.
A race as large as Boston definitely has “fluff”. I had to sit on a bus for an hour, then hang out at a middle school/high school in the “cold” for two hours while I got offered food, gear, etc. from sponsor companies. But as I looked past this “fluff” I realized what was really great about Boston; the people. Boston fans, Boston runners, the Boston course, and the Boston running community made me feel welcome and made me feel like I belonged to something beyond running and myself….running was merely the instigator.
The race went well for me as far as races go and the fans were plentiful and motivational. I made it through the finish line and met with my family for the walk back to the rented house boat. We found out after we arrived about the bombings and were glued to the television the rest of the afternoon. Silently, we all worked through our shock and disbelief, realizing that it could have very well been all of us at the finish line when terroristic bombs killed three innocent people and injured almost two hundred.
I have never been so close to something so disastrous or dangerous and to think it happened at a marathon pisses me off, and to think that it could happen anywhere is even more frustrating. Marathons, and all races, are a celebration of the human spirit, human endurance, and friendly competition. To see so much good, literally be blown up, is disheartening, scary, and frustrating, and it makes me want to run that much more. It strengthens my resolve to continue something like the Wilder Foot Races, where a simple gathering of people with something in common can have a positive impact on a volunteer, a racer, a fan, and even a community.
I will never forget the Boston marathon that I ran on Monday, April 15th, 2013 because I was reminded that running a race is about something beyond ourselves; It is about our goals, our motivations, our hopes, our connectedness, and our humanity.
And never forget those that support you with everything they’ve got…