Today is the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, one of the truly great road races in the world. While it’s become associated with terrorism in the minds of many due to the bombing two years ago, this is not the way that runners think of it.
The race is, for most of us, a goal and pinnacle. Except for the great elites who will toe the line at Hopkinton this morning, most think of this as a great celebration. While some get into the race as runners for charity, the achievement for most is simply running fast enough in a prior race to qualify.
I have many friends out there now — as I type they are making their way to the start line and wondering how long the rain will hold off.
And along the route, there are countless parties being readied to celebrate the runners as they go by, for what is a mass event like this other than a great big party?
Is the potential for terrorism in the minds of many? Of course. But they are out there anyway, runners, spectators and volunteers alike. Those that are out there are not shut-ins preferring to cower. They are the ones celebrating life.
Below are a few pieces I’ve written before about the race (and the bombing). For those who want a peak into the psyche of the runner and what the race is about, here you go:
Boston Marathon (Drinking Beer, Kissing Wellesley Women and Abstract Journeys) – 2009
The Boston Marathon (Highway to Hell) – 2012
Boston Marathon Bombing (And the Lives We Lead) – 2013
Passover and the Boston Marathon Bombing – 2014
Update: Rebekah Gregory DiMartino, who lost a leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing….ran the closing miles of the marathon today to cross the finish line. Video of her crossing the finish is enough to dent even the hardest and most cynical of hearts.
Yes. That video really is fantastic, Eric.
My sister ran the race for the first time in her life. It was the highlight of her running career. My mother was there too and she said the atmosphere was absolutely electric (although she complained about the price of hotels).
It is a career highlight for many amateur athletes. It’s a long road just to qualify. And then to run it? Awesome.