Marathon Monday comes to Hopkinton in three days. Street sweepers sweep streets; low flying helicopters periodically shake walls of homes while surveying the downtown; groups of white metal corrals stand at specific spots, waiting to be distributed Patriot’s Day morning; tents go up on the Common welcoming Marathon enthusiasts.
I’ve run Boston three times – actually – four. I once ran Boston on a whim as a bandit (when that was allowed) when my older two kiddos were little. I made it up and over Heartbreak Hill and stopped with a bone break in my right foot.
But the first official time I ran Boston I was a mom of a toddler, in my mid-forties, driven to go where this mom had never gone before – to the finish line. Ran it in 3:37 in 2007, the year they came close to canceling it due to a Nor’easter. I ended up with hypothermia and shivered my way back up to normal in the medical tent at the finish. The following year I ran it in 3:33:30. If I hadn’t ‘pushed’ things at the end I may have had 3:33:33 – which for me carries more spiritual significance.
Then came 2013. I had a qualifier but didn’t run due to an injury. After the bombing I wrote Run Boston Strong http://www.runbostonstrong.net/ and, because I had another qualifier, determined to run 2014. Which I did. Undertrained. The enthusiastic cheering crowds were phenomenal. Learned that race what it was to hit the wall in Boston. Rendered utterly insignificant by the deep meaning of that marathon. As I ran/walked the last 5K I prayed to not get a qualifying time. I didn’t. Missed it by 1+minutes. Really? Couldn’t the gap have been a BIT more abundant!
Blessings to all running and all who have run (and, goes without saying, all who won’t and never have). And special blessings to those who ran 2013. Forever in our hearts.
I don’t know if I’ll ever run another marathon. But there’s a thrill that rises when Hopkinton street sweepers begin their rounds a few weeks before Marathon weekend – before Marathoners set out on their own sweep of the streets from Hopkinton to Boston. Pretty sweet.