This year won’t be a Boston Marathon year for me. I registered back in the fall, and I have gone back and forth continually for the last 6 months, over whether I wanted to go. A big part of me just assumed I would end up running on Patriot’s day this year, because I have for the last 3 years.
The Boston Marathon has kind of become a big part of me, and I never really thought that was possible before.
As runners, the Boston Marathon is, in some way, part of all of us. It always has been. That big race is the topic of conversation for runners of all kinds, and even non-runners.
From the people that aren’t quite clear about running:
“Oh, you’re a runner? Have you ever run Boston?” or, “is that marathon the same distance as the Boston Marathon?”
…to the people that are a bit more experienced:
“Do you ever want to train to qualify for Boston?” or “Have you run a BQ?”
The Boston Marathon was always one of the most well-known marathons. Even I knew of the race back a trillion years ago before I was ever a runner. Back when I completed my very first marathon, I assumed that the likes of my running legs would never see the starting line of that race. When I worked at the Running Room throughout my University years, we had a little framed grid on the front counter. It was a spreadsheet outlining the qualifying times for the elusive Boston Marathon.
I would look at those times for Females under 30 (and, by the way, 30 seemed like, soooo old to me) and I would flip back and forth between dreaming of how manageable it would be to break 3:40, and how too.dang.hard it would be in reality. This was back in the days before I could just glance at my smartphone and calculate paces/times so I was really just dreaming at that point!
When I ran my second marathon, a running friend (who ran the same race) qualified. She ran a 3:30 in Ottawa and I was beyond excited for her. If she did it, maybe I could too?
Exactly two years ago, the Boston Marathon was changed forever. As I ran down the street amidst the chaos of that day, on tired legs and with a foggy brain, I realized that things wouldn’t ever be the same.
The Boston Marathon became inescapable headline news, where it really has remained. The race became a bigger sign of hope and strength than it had ever been before.
When we returned to the race in 2014, I arrived knowing I was there to prove something. I was there to prove that this race was a place for runners and spectators, and the spirit of running and spectating. That day was one of the most amazing days. It was crowded. Wow, it was crowded. The course was pure energy. Most of that energy came from the crowds of spectators that were there for me, a runner. The spectators demonstrated a kind of endurance I was envious of! They looked me in the eyes and shouted support. They cheered and high-fived and made it magic.
On April 15th I will always pause to remember how lucky I am. I will pause to remember the lives that were changed on that day. I will remember the lives that were lost. I will remember that this day is the day that things changed forever.
I will pause to remember the hopeful feeling I gained and appreciated when I returned to Boston last year.