Ode to the 121st Boston Marathon ♥

bostonBecause there’s no way I could describe what it was like to experience Boston, I won’t even try. Instead, I’m just going to say “Thank You.”

Thank you to mother nature for providing a day that was, though not ideal for runners, perfect for spectators and volunteers.

Thank you to the Boston Police Department for keeping everyone safe.

Thank you to Katherine Switzer for blazing the trail, inspiring in women the courage to do what men forbid 50 years ago, and for making it possible for us to stand at the starting line this year, representing almost 50% of the event’s participants.

Thank you to the woman on my shuttle bus in the Running Shop tank top and the man from Kalamazoo in front of me in the bathroom line for reminding me that runners are connected in ways we don’t often realize.

Thank you to the stranger I sat next to on the shuttle bus for telling me your story about how the spirit of the Boston Marathon inspired you go from spectator to participant (just to see what all the “hype” was about) and now you’re hooked for good.

Thank you to the spectators in Hopkinton who started the party in your front yards and sent us off with sunblock and well wishes on our way to the starting line.

Thank you to all 9,400+ volunteers for your valuable time and service, unconditional smiles, and sincerest positive vibes.

Thank you to the hundreds of porta-potties lined up everywhere we might have needed them.

Thank you to the participants who ran in honor of something bigger than themselves, for those who cannot, and for charities that will move us forward by using science and technology to fight illness and promote health and well-being.

Thank you to fellow runners who helped struggling participants to the medical tents or finish line.

Thank you to the medical professionals who helped over 3,000 runners in need of medical attention.

Thank you to the elite runners and wheelchair racers who dedicate their lives to the sport and demonstrate an athletic ability most humans cannot comprehend.

Thank you to all the enthusiastic kids for the orange slices, Twizzlers, high-fives, and unwavering smiles.

Thank you to Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who did not survive the 2013 bombings, but succeeded in spreading his message of peace to the running community and the world.

Thank you to the guides who helped blind runners navigate a safe journey to the finish line.

Thank you to the Wellesley girls for inventing and delivering an awesome scream tunnel, for the hilarious political shout-outs, for the entertainment created by your “kiss me” signs, and for the pick-me-up I desperately needed at the half-way point.

Thank you to the spectators who blared “Baby One More Time” multiple times along the course.

Thank you to the runners on crutches (yes, crutches) for demonstrating grit and guts by hobbling through the course and humbling me when I was hurting.

Thank you to Heartbreak Hill for teaching me to respect the Boston course and for representing the obstacles I will continue to face – and with hard work, will overcome – in running and in life.

Thank you to the Boston College dudes whose yelling was so loud it literally ignited a source of adrenaline that propelled me into another faster gear in the final 5k of the race.

Thank you to residents of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston for allowing the participants to ride your waves of enthusiasm throughout the 26.2-mile adventure to the finish line.

Thank you to Boylston Street for capturing the myriad of emotions that make me feel so alive it hurts.

Thank you to my high school friend, Matt, for scoring us a rad downtown apartment (mere blocks from the finish line!), teaching me how to navigate and enjoy the weekend, and for celebrating the coveted finish with me.

Thank you to the BAA for conceptualizing this amazing event and for protecting the identity and spirit of the Boston Marathon year after year.

Thank you to the Boston documentary for providing me the opportunity and excuse to soak up one more Boston Marathon moment.

Thank you to my physical therapy team at ProActive for teaching me how to make my body stronger, guiding and supporting me during my injury recovery, believing I could do it, and reminding me to “get out of my head” and into the race.

Thank you to my family, friends, co-workers, and the Tucson running community for listening to me ramble on about running in general, celebrating with me when I succeed, and picking me up when I fail.

Thank you to my mind and body for learning and growing through the sport of running and for persevering through this journey of highs and lows I hope continues on as long as I’m breathing.

Thank you to the Boston Marathon for an experience I will never forget.

Emily Bushouse
Tucson, Arizona