The Boston Marathon and me …

I’m not a runner, never have been, but the Boston Marathon is in my bones.  I grew up along the route and have watched the race year after year.  Marathon Day is a holiday in Massachusetts, officially commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord that sparked the Revolutionary War in 1775, but since we never had school on this day, we were ripe for cheering on runners.

Water stations?  Didn’t exist.  The luckiest of the runners had friends waiting at strategic points with water poured from thermos to cup and held out for easy grabbing.  Likewise, my friends and I would cut oranges at home, carry them down the street in a bowl, and offer slices for runners to snatch as they loped past without missing a beat.  Often, we brought the newspaper list of entrants with us, so that we could identify a runner by name and cheer him on.  Yup, him.  Back then, there were only guys – but what did we know about equality?  We were teenage girls, and some of those runners were gorgeous.

The marathon has evolved.  There are women now.  There are wheelchair entrants, entrants who celebrate having survived war and disease, even, this year, a self-described “little person.”  Way back when, there were 700 runners.  Now there are more than 30,000, but still it’s a highly personal event.  Participants and spectators alike feel the warmth, camaraderie, and excitement of the day.  They take it to heart.

No, I’m not a runner, never have been, but the Boston Marathon is a springtime ritual.  It’s part of who I am as a Greater Bostonian.  And now it’s forever changed.  I mourn those whose lives were lost this year, and pray for the recovery of the scores who were injured.  But I also ache for the innocence of Boston, and I’m angry that it’s been taken.

The anger will pass.  I know it will.  Soon there will be hope and a determination to recapture that warmth, camaraderie, and excitement.  Are you with me in this?

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar nelle on April 20, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Yes. We often attended, first by catching the 11 o’clock at Fenway and then the race. If a lopsided score, we’d leave early and watch the first finishers. I cannot imagine standing there with children, one moment into the doings roadside, the next in a cloud of smoke and splotches of blood. My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragic incident and its aftermath.

    We cannot hide. We must move forward, not with bitterness intent on revenge, but toward better. There will be debate over the death penalty, good points on either side. Forward.

  2. Avatar Jo Schomer on April 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I was surprised to hear you are not a runner since many of your characters were runners.

    The wounds are too fresh to put this all in perspective. Outrage and hate serve no useful purpose.

    No, the Marathon will never be the same. But it will forever be dedicated to the those who lost their lives and the survivors who embody the American spirit. These are the new Patriots.

  3. Avatar Carol J. Garvin on April 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    The terror will be imprinted for a long time, but so will the image of people lining the street and applauding the police after the second brother was apprehended. The American spirit is a wonderful thing. I expect next year’s marathon will have the biggest attendance in its history.

  4. Avatar Margi on April 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I am so saddened by another assault on American Soil, but I am also saddened by all the assaults around the World that have hurt so many families to the core.
    The Boston Marathon will be bigger and more significant next year, but WE will never forget the pain and anguish caused by this tragedy. This hurt the World because the Marathoners came from ALL OVER THE WORLD, just as did those lost on 9-11.
    Thank you Barbara for posting your feelings about your hometown, your homeland, the USA.

  5. Avatar Janet Warren on April 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I just finished “The Right Wrong Number.” I really enjoyed it!! Thank you for the opportunity to read it on my PC.

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