The theme for this year's Boston Marathon is We Run Together.
Even before the Boston Marathon Bombings, I knew the powerful bonds and magic of the running community when I trained for Boston 2009. I remember how my husband Tom stayed with me stride by stride and wouldn't be concerned about anything other than getting me to the finish line of every race and every long run we did.
I remember when I bought my first pair of running shoes at Marathon Sports Brookline and news about my story spread throughout the Marathon Sports family. When I ran my first 5 mile race ever - the Marathon Sports 5 Miler, the Marathon Sports family was there to greet me as Tom and I finished dead last with an air horn blaring and the truck horn honking just as though we finished in first place.
I saw the we run together theme this past weekend in Hyannis. It's amazing to be a spectator at the finish line and experience the camaraderie of the running community. I watched the hugs and high fives; the tears of joy and the triumphs. I saw how, even if one person finished ahead of another person, they went back to hug the person who finished behind them. And I saw how people who had already finished (as evidenced by the medals around their neck) went back to run in another runner.
In 52 days, 11 hours and counting, Boston and the world will run together. Hearts and hands will be joined together as over 36,000 runners will make their journey from Hopkinton to Boston.
I will be back at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel this year ready to welcome the 100 members of Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab team to the Suite where I stood on 4/15/13 in a moment frozen in time. I will be tracking my friends who are running and will watch them triumphantly run down Boylston Street to the finish line.
On 5/30/2013, Amby Burfoot (who Bill Rodgers went to college with and played a pivotal role in Bill Rodgers development as a runner as featured in Bill's book Marathon Man) wrote this beautiful article for Runner's World: Just Imagine.
Ultramarathon great and biologist Bernd Heinrich, Ph.D., got it right in his book, Why We Run. Heinrich agrees we were born to run. But the secret, he argues, is not that we can trot along under a hot sun. No, the genius lies in our ability to visualize–to imagine–that such activity might lead to an important goal. We don't run primarily because we can, or because it feels good, though both might be true. Rather we were born to run with imagination and purpose.
Paleolithic runners pursued antelope with visions of a steak dinner. Today we run to score a soccer goal. To lose 10 pounds. To finish a 5-K and then maybe a half-marathon. To raise funds for good causes. We run long and persistent, hoping to one day complete 26.2 miles....
As John Hancock said in their promo for the video, whether you are running, volunteering or spectating, we all run together!