Monday, February 24, 2014

"It's a Fantastic Sport"

What a magical weekend in Hyannis. It will take me awhile to wrap my head and heart around all that happened this weekend in Hyannis. I hope I can convey some of the magic to you through my blog.

Tom and I left early Saturday morning for the Hyannis Resort and Convention Center. Our room was ready at 10:00am and we were able to get in a workout in the pool before lunch. We went to the Expo where I had the chance to talk with Boston's very own Bill Rodgers. I shared my story with him as he shared excerpts from his book, "Marathon Man" with me. He signed my book with, "We are lifetime runners. Let's run forever!" Bill Rodgers

As Tom took our photo, he gently placed his hand on my back and said to me, "Wow. Boston. You've got that mental toughness you know. You are one strong woman..."

After the Expo we drove the course for the half marathon and stopped at the JFK Memorial. Green grass, beautiful blue sky and ocean in mid-February:

At the pre race pasta dinner, we were treated to a feast of inspiration, laughter and tears by Bill Rodgers and Dick Beardsley.

Dick talked briefly about the day he had his duel in the sun with Alberto Salazar and his relationship with Bill Rodgers. He focused on the outpouring of emotional and financial support he received after a near fatal farm accident followed by his battle with addiction to prescription pain killers. Dick has a beautiful, raw heart and yes, real runners and men do cry! And laugh, and regale stories of races of days gone by.

Dick said that running is a fantastic sport and that many of the stories we runners tell have nothing to do with our races on the road but of the bonds that we as a running community share.

It is a fantastic sport and on Sunday, as I met up with my fellow alumni Race for Rehab teammates before their team photo:

Suzanne Showstack Adams, who I've known since 2007 and who I ran with in 2009 on the Race for Rehab team was also marveling at what a fantastic sport it is. She commented on where else can you be on the same course as elite runners? In what other sport do you get to stand side by side with the most celebrated men's distance runner in history.

And I would like to add, in what other sport could I, a polio survivor, cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon and be embraced and supported by a community of runners?

And in what other sport do you get to have breakfast with Dick Beardsley who, for a brief moment in the early 1980's became the most famous runner in the world - by losing a race. But more about that in tomorrow's blog!

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