Running a marathon is a big deal. Months of preparation. Time away from family. Long training runs, often solo, sometimes beginning or ending in the dark. By pushing your body to endure pain and run faster and farther than you ever have before, the act of running a marathon seems to defy human physical limits. Marathoners often run as a symbol of fighting back against a disease like cancer or diabetes, or in honor of a lost loved one. The marathon is a celebration of the human spirit.
Running the Boston Marathon is an even bigger deal. 117 years of unbroken tradition. A challenging course (they don’t call it Heartbreak Hill for nothing). Daunting qualifying times and the chance to toe the line with elite runners. Just qualifying for Boston is an achievement. Above all, the hundreds of thousands of spectators. They say the best day to visit Boston is Patriot’s Day. The Boston Marathon represents the crown jewel of running and the soul of Boston. In my first marathon (New York City, 1995), I was lucky enough to run a Boston qualifier. Of course I ran. If anything, I’m even prouder of running the 1996 100th Boston Marathon today than I was 17 years ago.
More than ever before, the 2014 Boston Marathon will be an act of defiance and courage. In the meantime, Americans will live their lives, courageously and in defiance of terrorist acts, just like after 9/11. Keep running. Keep racing. Keep living.
A Run for Boston is planned for Thursday, April 18th, 5:30pm at Saratoga Spa State Park. Register here or just show up. You can also help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by contributing to OneFundBoston.