Reflect, relive, run…Boston.
This year I head back to Boston to be a part of the marathon. This year is in the 119th running of the iconic event. This year it is April 20th – always the third Monday of April. Marathon Monday (Patriots’ Day) is a state holiday for Massachusetts. It celebrates the state’s illustrious history with a 26.2 mile long party. Generations of families have barbecues, school children stand in their front yards and hand out water from small paper cups and offer up sliced oranges to passing runners, and college co-eds (and there are a bunch of colleges the race passes through) celebrate in their own unique ways. It is magnificent!
A group of young runners from Baton Rouge, Louisiana made it our goal to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon in the early-2000’s. We are the Goldenfliers. And while our group training and goal setting may have been altered since then due to…well, life…it is always a time of year that we celebrate and reflect. We reflect on our determination, our camaraderie, our friendship, and our unrelenting passion for the sport of running.
(Joe, Eric, me, and Dirk in our younger days)
And that is what I think the Boston Marathon is to running – passion. It is running’s World Series, running’s Master’s, running’s Super Bowl. But the two things that makes it such a draw to the masses, such a life-altering event for anyone that qualifies for it, is that it is a such a select group of individuals that get there and they can do it amongst the best in their sport. You can’t step up to the plate right after Derek Jeter, you can’t catch a pass from Peyton Manning, you can’t step onto the tee box next to Tiger Woods in their same arena of competition. But you can toe the same starting line as Meb Keflezighi or Shalane Flanagan just minutes after they do in Hopkinton, or run through Wellesley College to the same cheers from the ladies there, or run past the fire station that starts the Newton Hills. You can do that! But you are amongst a group that is smaller than 1% of the 1% of the U.S. population that completes a marathon each year and qualifies for Boston. I’ll let you do the math.
But while I love running and I love running the Boston Marathon, life has chosen me to be involved in Boston in a different way. I will be attending the American Athletic Medical Association’s annual symposium that will run Saturday and Sunday before the race and I will be a medical volunteer at the finish line or raceday. Did the bombing events of 2013 stir my emotions for the event? You bet it did. No one was going to take away a sport I love and an event I cherish without a fight. So this year I am going back to Boston to lend my medical expertise to the runners on the other side of the finish line. Those that have pursued their goal, pushed themselves further than they thought they could, those whose bodies want to say “enough”.
See you at the finish line.