My flight landed in Boston even later than I anticipated on Friday night after a mechanical issue caused a long delay. Even before this delay, I knew I was going to be short on sleep as I was running in the Boston Athletic Association’s 5K on Saturday morning, and with 10,000 runners participating, getting there early was of the essence. Typically my patience in this situation would have been even shorter, but I spent most of this delay talking to a few people who would be running the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Their stories were very inspirational, and I couldn’t help but feel the passion and excitement in their voices as they envisioned toeing the start line on Monday, but more importantly, crossing the Finish Line. We talked throughout the flight, and I even pitched them on coming to run in the Fifth Third River Bank Run (the “largest 25K in the country!”). Runners are often curious about other races, so they smiled and told me how they’d love to one year. However, even I was having a hard time talking about another race knowing they were on their way to participate in the Boston Marathon, what most runners call the “Mecca of all Marathons”, one year after the bombings shook the race, a city and our country to the core.
Being able to participate in the 5K is a unique experience as the last half of the course includes the last two turns of the marathon’s course, otherwise known as “right on Hereford St., then left on Boylston.” Without having a chance to visit the finish line area before the race due to my late flight, I was overcome with emotion thinking about the victims as I ran passed both places where the bombs went off last year. Then, I crossed over the Marathon’s finish line and my mind couldn’t help but think of all the runners who weren’t able to do so. However, I quickly regrouped my thoughts by thinking of all those who would be able to do so this year! I finished the race, accepted my finisher’s medal, t-shirt, and refreshments bag, but immediately started thinking about the Marathon on Monday.
I’ll be down at the Finish Line cheering on all the runners, especially my Dad (8th Boston Marathon) and brother-in-law (2nd Boston Marathon). As emotional as it’s been revisiting where the devastation occurred last year, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like on race day this year. Only this year it’s going to be more positive emotion, as the participants, city and our country, “take back the Finish Line.”
Enjoy the Finish Line before race day.
Happy Running and Pay it Forward!
-Road Warrior Dan