The Boston Marathon is considered the pinnacle of marathon running. For some runners, qualifying comes easy, while for others is takes years and years of training to make the start line. No matter how you get there, it takes a lot of hard work, support and discipline. It’s a family affair.
Qualifying is step one in the process as registering is not always guaranteed. In 2010, the Boston Marathon sold out in 8 hours. Which means those who qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon would need to qualify again in hopes to register for 2011. Which is not always easy to do. Men aged 18 -34 years old need to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 5 minutes or less. That is 7:03 minute miles. Women aged 18-34 years old need to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 35 minutes or less. That is 8:12 minute miles. All while staying healthy and uninjured.
When talking to marathon runners, a hush comes over the conversation when someone mentions they have run The Boston Marathon. Ones image is taken from “current running partner” to “marathon god/goddess” in the matter of a split second. The Boston Marathon is the world championships of marathon runners just like Ironman Kona is the world championships to Ironman triathletes.
The city of Boston not only celebrates Marathon Monday but they also recognize Patriot’s Day. The entire city has the day off! You will find many residents spending their day lining the course from the start to the finish line screaming, BBQ-ing, drinking beers, running alongside struggling runners, ringing cowbells and cheering topless. Yes, the city goes all out and the energy is unlike any other running event. The city of Boston is proud to host this event and runners are proud to be apart of the cities celebration.
As I followed the 117th Boston Marathon Facebook page this year, the energy was slowly building in anticipation of the big day. Pro American runners, including my personal favorite and fellow mom, Kara Goucher spoke to the press. Buses packed up the runners and headed to Hopkinton (the start line). At exactly 10am EST he gun went off and the race was on! It was finish line or bust for all 26,916 runners. Kara Goucher came across the finish line in 6th place – go USA!
Then, the post that changed everything came through:
I immediately felt nauseous and my mind flooded with previous memories. My mom and I competed in the 2009 Boston Marathon and she crossed the finish line at 4:12:31. That is exactly 2 minutes and 48 seconds after the first bomb went off. Which would put her somewhere on the course just short of where the second bomb detonated. I felt like fainting.
My heart goes out to each and every person who has been affected by this horrific act of terrorism. The photos of athletes, spectators and volunteers injured on the Boston Marathon course, weighs heavy on my mind. Just the thought of all of those people who need their strong limbs to carry them from the start to the finish line or stand along the course cheering or welcome athletes to the finish line and offer them food, warmth and care, just breaks my heart. There are no words that can explain my sorrow.
My hope is that the events that happened at the Boston Marathon do not deter us from doing the activities that we love. Without running, I am not sure what I would do. I could not even imagine having anything happen to my family. But the reality of the situation is that we are not invincible and we are not able to predict when such events are going to happen. It does put life into perspective as I have hugged my loved ones a little tighter since Monday.
Running is a huge part of my family’s culture. I know that my daughter wants to be at the finish line of every event that I complete, just like she was this weekend as I completed the Race for the Roses half marathon. How could you not run fast knowing that this cute little face was waiting at the finish?
To think that she possibly could have been a victim of terrorism, for cheering at the finish line, just makes me sick.
I have been inspired by the CEO of Ironman, Andrew Messick, who wrote: “I am going running today as a small sign of support for Boston (marathon) and to show those responsible for the tragic events that we are stronger than they are. I encourage you all to do the same.” I know one thing, I will not let such horrific acts of terror keep my family away from participating in athletic endeavors, spectating and reaching our personal goals. These challenging athletic events are made to promote a healthy lifestyle and bring people together. I took Mr. Messick’s advice and my family has run every day since the Boston Marathon bombings. I encourage all of you to do the same. We are stronger than them, whether the terrorists like it or not. Let’s hope they find the perpetrator and locked them up sooner rather than later. I have a feeling they are close! Boston, I love you and hope to see you again soon!
Take good care and be safe mamas!
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