We are now in the final days before the Boston Marathon and the mounting nerves are seemingly everywhere. Personally, I get a few panicked emails a day- you know who you are- wanting to know why they are now out of shape, even though they are just fine! For obvious reasons, there’s going to be much more to it this year. To me, that’s why I had planned on not going back there when making plans this fall. It’s why I wish I was going to be there now! I love the Boston Marathon because of the people- the people who live there, the people who organize it, and the people who run. It truly is the superbowl of our sport. My favorite memory as a runner is making that left hand turn onto Boylston in 2006. You came out of the shadows into this bright sunshine. The thousands of people cheered for you like you were winning an Olympic medal. It was such an amazing feeling running down to the finish line.
With that said, though, I can’t help but wonder how that all will change now. Just thinking back to the Chicago Marathon this fall, the quietness was so eerie. A place where it’s usually jammed packed with supporters was baracaded off. A starters pistol wasn’t even needed to send us on our way. A simple “Go” in a normal voice was loud enough… I hope that the people line the sidewalk of Boylston on Monday and for another 118 years.
So, as you make your way to Hopkington, I want you to stay calm. It will be hard as the emotions will be overflowing. The pride, the sadness, the adrenaline is all a mixture to ruin your race before it starts. Hell, I get emotional jut writing this! You have to remember that vengeance is best served with success. That success comes from making a race plan and sticking to it; by keeping that emotional bubble intact. Not by letting yourself get charged up and trying to conquer the world on emotion.
As you fly into Wellsely, remember that you are only halfway done and the first half is the easy half. As soon as you get out of town, you have 5 plus miles of hills waiting for you. As you climb those hills, focus on the task and not your watch. If you are strong and patient you will make it through ok and be rewarded after Heartbreak. This is where Bill Rogers broke his adversaries, where the race was decided. Remember that and draw from the strength of those cheering you on!
Stay calm, stay patient, and stay focused. Keep that emotion bubble intact. As you fly past Boston College and Cleveland Circle, let gravity do the work and let your legs simply carry you. Now, as you turn onto Boylston and come out from behind the shadows of the buildings into that sunlight, let it rip! Celebrate what you have done. Honor those whose blood was shed just a short time ago. Feel free to let that bubble pop and wash away all of that pain and suffering. You’ve earned it. They’ve earned. We’ve all earned it. The Boston Marathon is here and always will be.
For as tragic as the 2013 version was, I feel strangely confident that the 2014 version will be the complete opposite. The Boston Marathon will show the world how to come together in peace and tolerance, for at least a few hours on Patriot’s Day!
I wish everyone competing the best of luck.