There is a deeply meaningful marathon story I was hoping to share. A dream-fulfilling, first-hand account of a weekend that, by the time I crossed the finish line, left me out of breath, but also completely exhilarated. The type of story where, even if there were no astrological significance, I would still tell you that the moon and stars aligned in mid-April. If anxiety was going to keep me up the night before the marathon, then the post-race euphoria—that runner’s high you have been wondering about—would leave me an insomniac well into May. This, however, will not be that story.
Skin-tight spandex. Shiny mylar capes. Shades of neon seen as far as the eye can see. Those are the looks of superheroes that, along with other immense powers, have the strength to move the earth under their feet. On April 15, 2013, thousands of these superheroes were to descend on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay and, as they have for all previous years, follow a procession to receive an elite symbol of strength. As the tragic events unfolded on Monday afternoon, Boston’s heroes were not just marathon runners, they were doctors, police officers, firefighters, volunteers, emergency medical teams, first responders, and many others who, in all honesty, spend the other 364 days of the year as a hero for us. No one told them, and it certainly was not otherwise an option that, on their one “day off” they would have to save lives.
I will, and I kindly ask that you, too, think of these heroes. The inspiring bravery of countless people, in the moments after the explosions, is something I will certainly think about. I also can’t forget the tragedy, which will forever be part of the Boston Marathon. Even on the days when the world does not come to run in Boston, as we have already seen, there will be memorials along the Marathon route, stadiums will play Dirty Water when the home team wins, and restaurants will be bustling on Boylston Street. Even on those tougher days, I will think about Colbert’s intro on April 16, the home crowd returning to the TD Garden, and courageous images of Celeste and Sydney Corcoran. As you can tell, I have a lot to think about. Today, tomorrow, and the next time I go for a long run, I have a lot to think about.
Even before I was running with, or running by and high fiving good friends, something profound and memorable stuck with me that I knew was worth sharing. A Marathon Challenge teammate, as well as a doctor at Dana-Farber, David Weinstock shared this with runners and many of our friends, family members, and patient partners.
"I believe that we spend most of our lives feeling alone in the universe. In fact, the great irony of human existence is that every one of us, every one, ultimately thinks that we’re the only one who feels that way. The feeling of being uniquely alone is the great valiant bond between us—it’s what brings us together.”
These poignant words would carry even more meaning two weeks ago from today. At 2:50pm, the 27,000 runners, 500,000 spectators, and thousands more actually working that day, refreshing the BAA.org athlete tracking website, were steps, miles, office buildings, and continents apart; however no one was alone. That day brought us together. That day made us Boston Strong.
Martin Richard’s little league teammates will not be alone. Krystle Campbell’s co-workers will not be alone. Lu Lingzi’s classmates will not be alone. Sean Collier’s fellow officers at MIT will not be alone. Each of their family members, for as long as I know, will not be alone.
For all those reasons, and many more, I know that the next time the world comes back to run Boston, 356 days from now, I will absolutely be there as well. I already can’t wait to get back to long runs, on bitter cold mornings, and write to you again about the 2014 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. I hope that all of the superheroes who inspired and motivated me, through generous support and incredible words of encouragement, will also be there on April 21, 2014, for the celebration on Boylston Street. You will not want to miss it.
Family, friends, and teammates THANK YOU so much for helping me raise$13,775.20 for the 2013 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.