Exactly one year ago today I was running the Boston Marathon. In fact, approximately about this time, 12:15, I was running passed Wellesley College, minutes from where I work. I’m at work today and it feels wrong. I was at work yesterday, too, and it felt wrong. I came in early in order to beat the road closures before the marathon. I wished then that I was running.
I left early because I couldn’t stand not cheering on the runners like I’ve done. I went over to my sisters and we went and saw the elite runners go by, which I had never seen before. Then I went home real fast and changed. I hesitated on whether I should put on my finisher’s jacket from last year, but decided to, because I had earned it. I went back to our usual spot just before Coolidge Corner and started cheering runners on, calling out names of strangers, screaming at my friends that came by. It was fun as it always is. Meg came by and I gave her a good, encouraging pat. We saw Alain in his orange suit and he came over and snapped a picture. And then the cheering stopped and we all looked at our phones and then we went home to watch the news.
I’m not being dramatic when I say the Boston Marathon is one of the reasons why I moved to Boston. You can go back to the earliest posts on this blog and see that I’ve always felt this way. On a cold Monday in April 2009 I did what I did yesterday in the same spot and felt like this was a city a person could belong to and not just be an anonymous part of. Everyone that watches those overcoming the distance on Marathon Monday thinks to themselves “I can do this”. Some of us do and I hope more will. This event is pure. It about overcoming yourself in every way. It is about finding your strength and making it stronger. And for those that run for charities, as so many in Boston do, it is about friends and family and strangers and the good you can do. No one finishes a marathon a worse person than they were before they started training. It will change you. And because it changes so many, a marathon has the ability to change the world.
Many people asked me leading up to this year if I wished I was running again. In spite of the unnecessary and misguided cruelties that happened yesterday, I still wish I had. I know I will again.
Hopefully next year I will see you all again at the finish line where people will be changed again, where Boston will prove its strength and be made stronger.