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?