I'm not going to lie, the Boston Marathon bombing hit me really hard.
The Boston Marathon was first run in1897. That's amazing right there.
I have run that race four times: 1990, 1996, 2000, 2004. I've been a runner almost as long as I can remember, a marathoner since 1990. I won't go into the personal reasons for running those years, but I can tell you how welcome Boston has made me feel each and every time I have run there.
If you haven't run Boston, I don't think you will feel the same way I do.
First of all, to those of us who are just average recreational runners, running in Boston is the highlight of our athletic careers. One must run a marathon in a certain time frame previously in a fast-enough time to qualify to run in Boston. Not just anybody who wants to can run; you must qualify. For many of us, that's a huge goal to achieve and we are happy with that. To actually go, wow!
The energy in Boston that weekend is incredible! There are so many people who come from around the world to run, who are so excited, and the city of Boston embraces us! There is never a rude word about the people who show up and crowd the city. Everyone is so welcoming. The hotels, the restaurants, the cab drivers, everyone! This is Patriots Day, a holiday in Massachusetts. People are off work, out of school, and in high spirits. The Red Sox are playing at home. (Off topic, but one year we went to the Sunday game vs. the Yankees. How fun, how many fights broke out in the stands--like nothing I've ever seen--such a rivalry!)
Yeah, the hotels, restaurants, cab drivers welcome the extra income. We understand that. But then it's Monday and the marathon. That's when you really see the true Boston citizens. They line every inch of the marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston. Runners pass biker bars and the bikers raise their beers to us. We pass little kids who are so exited to high-five us, while the whole time I am thinking that I am just an ordinary person. At the halfway point we run the gauntlet of Wellesley women. You can hear their ear-piercing screams long before you reach them. The sound sends a chill down my spine, makes me run faster and taller, and truly makes me feel like an Olympian. During the Newton Hills, the hardest point for those of us who live in the flatlands, fans are cheering and encouraging. Eventually we persevere and arrive in Boston proper, where the end is so near yet so far. It's tough but the crowds are out there cheering. There comes a time when a runner ceases to see or hear anything but that finish line. And we cross it. Hallelujiah! This is the highlight of an ordinary runner's career.
And someone tried to mess with it. At first I thought of the runners. But then I realized the people who were the victims were our supporters, the people who make the running of a marathon so much fun. We runners really appreciate them for everything they do. They cheer, they give us something to look at and ponder, they take our minds off the pain. They are the ones who hold up the signs with the current score of the Red Sox game. They are incredible people who cheer for RANDOM STRANGERS as I saw in a photo gallery on the Runners World website.
What happened was so wrong. The criminals will get their due. And the marathoners and their supporters will be out in record numbers next year. We will not let them win.