Just about anything I say will not do it any justice. But let me try…again.
Amazing support. The BAA kept in perfect contact with us through the final crazy month and few last weeks. Their information content was right on and they repeated very important items.
Volunteers realized what they were in for and they were ready: From the loads of service men and women stationed everywhere along the way of our trip out to Hopkinton, in Athletes’ Village, along the course inside and outside the barricades, to all the completely amazing course support. There was always someone there. A splash of water or two. Some lube. A cold rag. They were happy to be there and ready to help. True SERVANT’S HEARTS. Well trained. Thank you.
Kathy and I spoke with a volunteer in the elevator of our hotel. It was about 4 p.m. on Monday, after my race, and we were headed to dinner. He was part of the Boston Common Team that helped with the loading of buses and the collection of gear bags runners wanted to check and have available for after their run. This man had started his day at 2:00 AM. He was done at 12 noon, and had taken a quick nap. He was headed to Hopkinton to join Race Director Dave McGillivray for his 42nd running of this incredible course. This is what the whole day was about. Sacrifice and togetherness.
People. Young and old, from places I have no idea where.
Stories from along the road.
From what I remember and from my Garmin stats, I stopped two times. Once at about 15 miles, and again at about 24 miles. I think I remember both times and who I spoke with during these stops.
Stop One was somewhere between Wellesley and Newton. The hills were about to begin. I told Nelly I needed to stop and stretch, just to see if my quads would loosen up. They were screaming and sore and tight and tired. I spotted a park bench and pulled over there to brace myself during stretching. A nice lady saw me and offered advice and encouragement. She smiled at me and truly wanted me to have a good run. She cared. She saw my need and did something. This is what we need to be doing in our lives.
Stop Two was along Beacon Street in Brookline at about 24 miles. It was just after a water stop and I had grabbed a cup and stopped to drink it along the left side of the course. I leaned on a barricade and talked with a lady. I remember telling her “I’m not thirsty; I just want an excuse to stop.” She smiled and encouraged me to continue and finish strong. She patted my shoulder. She was there for a stranger.
These interactions all made this experience one to remember. So many others played a part. It was the enthusiastic high-five’s from all the college kids that nearly took my arm off at the elbow. The loving gesture of an orange slice just at the right time. Bottled water early in the race from a young spectator. The Wellesley Girls! Kids asking their mom and dad if they are holding the orange slice right and learning about runners and the love of this sport. Parents showing their kids the legacy of their community. Passing it on. There is something to this.
While I was struggling, I looked at the faces along the street. They saw me looking and waved or offered their hand to me. They cheered as I waved back or engaged in a high-five. There was a mutual need being met by all of us there. They did not come to watch the marathon and see one person and just leave. They were invested and stuck around to see people and stories and pain and happiness. They wanted to thank the runners and share in the victory of each step. They did not see the finish line, but they all had a part in many finishes. It is a true test of a city and a show of resilience. These people know how to do it and I am so glad each one was there Monday.
I will cherish these memories and will revisit them often to propel my journey to qualify for Boston 2015. Thank you, Boston, for your strength, perseverance, beauty, and grace. I hope to see you real soon.
Meanwhile, I want to make a commitment to start paying this back or forward. Our Sunday School Class is batting around a fun little thing….it’s called a Wave! Yep, just a simple little wave. Pick up your hand and wave at someone. If you are driving in a school zone, just lift your index finger off the wheel at that crossing guard. Show them you appreciate them. Help them finish. Out for a walk? Wave and smile at that cyclist whizzing past. They might have had a bad day. Wave at the store manager as you are leaving with your groceries. Everyone needs something positive in their life every once in a while.
Smile and Wave people. We can make every day The Boston Marathon!
“All in for Boston 2015!!”
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