What happened in Boston this week is deplorable on many levels. Nearly two days later, I can’t shake the sickness I feel because of what happened during a celebration of human endurance. An event celebrating average citizens running 26.2 miles.
In 2001, I began training for the New York Marathon. After many months of pouring on the miles the unthinkable happened on Tuesday, September 11th. Many people speculated as to whether the race would be postponed or cancelled. Once word came that the marathon would continue as scheduled, I resumed my training for the race which was to take place on November 4th.
It was an incredible experience filled with hope and defiance against those that would attempt to destroy our everday lives.
There are many memories that are etched in my mind from the 2001 New York City Marathon:
– Flying directly over Manhattan on the way to LGA and seeing Ground Zero lit up with flood lights.
– Rudy Giuliani at the starting line cheering on the runners with “New York, New York” blasting over the speakers.
– Choking back tears while seeing fellow runners wearing shirts declaring that they were running for friends/relatives who had died in the attacks.
– Finishing the race under my 5-hour goal.
– Spending most of the night at the hospital with 2 bags of IV strapped in my arm due to severe dehydration (yes, true)
– Receiving my finish line photo and noticing a lady with a walking cane crossing the line next to me. I swear she jumped out of the crowd to cross with another runner. Seriously!
However, the over-arching memory and feeling that I took away from that day was a sense of hope. It felt like I was running with thousands of my best friends. All of these people from all across the country and across the world…together running a race that took on more meaning than just crossing a finish line.
The New York Marathon begins in Staten Island at the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Once on the other side of the bridge, my fellow runners and I were greeted by hundreds of thousand of spectators. Some waiving flags, some smiling, some crying…all clapping and cheering on those that turned out to run a very important race.
While running through all of Brooklyn, into Queens, passing through the roaring crowds of Midtown Manhattan, looping around the Bronx, back into Manhattan and struggling through the rolling hills of Central Park…there was a renewed hope from all the runners and spectators. Hope that everything was getting back to normal. Hope that what happened on 9/11 would never happen again.
Thousands of people running a marathon. Thousands of people cheering them along.
On Monday, there were people from all over the country and world running in arguably the most famous and well-known marathon in the world. It was Patriot’s Day. It was The Boston Marathon.
We are all mad that people died. Mad that people were injured. Mad that someone was so cowardly to attack innocent bystanders. Mad that many of those running were not able to reach their goal of crossing the finish line. Sad that any of this happened.
The 2001 NYC Marathon was run with a sense of hope. I imagine that the 2014 Boston Marathon will echo similar feelings.
We’ll all keep running and are hopeful this will never happened again.