I have never run the Boston Marathon. I may never be able to. To qualify I’d have to run a 3:10:00 marathon. That’s 7:15 per mile. The best I’ve done at a 1/2 marathon is an 8:13 pace. So I’d have to shave an minute off my current best pace and go twice as far. I’d have to run at basically my 5k pace for 26.2. That’s a tall order. But never say never. Someday maybe. It’d be an awesome achievement. And I have nothing but respect for others who can make it there.
Long before I ever had any inkling about running these distances, I still knew what the Boston Marathon was. It’s a storied event, known worldwide. And around this same time in my life, I actually saw the finish line. I was in Boston on business and had some free time to explore. I randomly got out of a subway stop and there it was, the finish line to the Boston Marathon. The race was not going on, but I guess they leave it there painted on the street year round. Like I said, I’d never even considered running a marathon, but I knew about Boston and seeing the finish line gave me a sense of respect, awe, and history. I knew that people worldwide focus on that exact spot once a year. I knew people worldwide strive to be at that spot once in their life. And I was standing in it’s presence. Like many tragedies, there’s no way I could predict what would happen at that exact spot so many years later.
I used to go to Boston about once a month for work. And. I. Loved. It. I love the food, the people, the accent, the history, the sights, everything. I always added a free day or two to my trip so I could explore the city. I still consider Boston one of my 2nd home cities. Combine that with my love of running, you can imagine how the Boston Marathon bombing hit close to home for me.
I don’t have to get into how horrible the event was and is. I’d rather focus on the good. Like how people post on social media the Mr. Rogers quote about focusing on how there are always people helping the injured. Like how Patton Oswalt posted about there will always be more good people than bad people. Like the reports of finishers running to the hospital to donate blood. Like how the message of peace on the sign held in the picture of the little boy who was killed, Martin Richard, will reach so many people. Like how within seconds, first responders and civilians alike were running toward the travesty to help strangers in need. Like how instead of scaring people, this event inspired so many across the country get out and run and remember.
I for one have never wanted to run more than I do right now. I have never wanted to run the Boston Marathon than I do now. I signed up for the Dopey Challenge at Disney last week – that’s 4 straight days of racing – 5k, 10k, 1/2, & full marathon. I was kind of intimidated by it, but now I’m inspired to run it. I’ll run it with Boston on my mind. Like I said, I’ve never wanted to run more than I do now. Stephen Colbert had a funny quote:
“Here’s what these cowards really don’t get: they attacked the Boston Marathon, an event celebrating people who run 26 miles on their day off until their nipples are raw — for fun.”
It’s true. People don’t run marathons cause they’re easy. People who run marathons aren’t weak. Regardless of what you think about politics, I thought President Obama gave a great speech at the interfaith service in Boston a few days after the attack. As a runner and American, I liked how he compared America to marathoners. How we always push through, even when times are tough. How we always know that around the next bend, there will always be others there to support us. How we will always finish the race!
On a personal note, I had two friends running this race. One was already long finished. But the other was within half a mile of the finish when the bombs went off. We didn’t hear that she was safe for hours, so that was a stressful time let me tell you. But we were lucky, both our friends are safe. So thankful for that.
But like I said, I’ve spent lots of time in Beantown. I know the people. I know how tough they are. I’ve also spent some time in NYC. I know how tough that city is. When I was at ground zero last summer, I saw firsthand how they have picked themselves up and gotten stronger since 9/11. I know Boston will do the same.
Whatever your personal race is, get out and do it. Whether it’s running or something in life…no person, no excuse, no situation can stop you. Go do it!
“No more hurting people. Peace.” – Martin Richard