2014 Boston Marathon

200px-BostonmarathonlogoToday you’ll turn on your television and probably see stories about the missing flight, the sinking ship, the crazy spring weather…but you won’t see a story like last year when the Boston Marathon turned into tragedy. Rather, this year the marathon found a happy ending–or “finish” if you will.

For the first time in 29 years, an American won the Boston Marathon. Meb Keflezighi, 39, finished the race with a time of 2:08:37. At one point in the race, he had a 90 second lead, but in the final two miles, it narrowed to just six seconds.

Keflezighi has made quite a name for himself in the running world. He won four NCAA championships for UCLA, won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, and came in fourth in the 2012 Olympic Games.

The women’s race also saw a story play out. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won her second-straight women’s division title. Her 2:18:57 finish set a new course record.

Results:
Men
Meb Keflezighi: 2:08:37
Wilson Chebet: 2:08:48
Frankline Chepkwony: 2:08:50

Women:
Rita Jeptoo: 2:18:57
Deba Buzunesh: 2:19:59
Mare Dibaba: 2:20:35

Although none of us will come close to those type of finish times, we certainly can appreciate them. The hard work and natural athleticism of these top Boston Marathon athletes continues to astonish runners. Many of us can only look at Boston as a dream.

I am proud of the saying “Boston Strong” that has been heard so many times over the past year. I think it symbolizes both the pluckiness of the city and the power of the athletes to do something so challenging.

Congrats to all the finishers today!

What the Events of the Boston Marathon Mean to Me

Normally I love April. My birthday is in April. I love April flowers blooming in my yard. I love the change in the weather from the listlessness of March rain. I love Earth Day (today!) and running in an Earth Day race each year. I love Arbor Day. Although Tax Day is in April, I do love refunds. April is my favorite month.

Minus this year.

Like all Americans, I felt stunned and bewildered by the horrific events at the Boston Marathon, among the many other tragedies that splashed across the nightly news.

We are all too familiar with violent attacks in this day and age, but I always felt somewhat removed from them. I didn’t have any relatives or friends involved with the Sept. 11th attacks. I didn’t know anyone at Sandy Hook or at a movie theater in Colo. But I had four friends running in the Boston Marathon this year. All four are okay; two finished and two didn’t. They were still on the course when the explosions occurred.

But this was about more than my friends; this felt like an attack on my community–the running community. We all are in this sort of brotherhood/sisterhood no matter what race in the world. These individuals attacked my friends, even though I’d never actually met 27,000 of them.

To anyone involved with marathons,  you know there are two types: Boston and all the others. Boston is the pinnacle of a marathon achievement; a race so exclusive runners spend years trying to qualify. It’s difficult to get into and the ones who do it say it’s a dream come true. Bostonians know how much this race means to the running community;  they treat the runners like rock stars even before race day.

Even the “mascot” of the Boston Marathon symbolizes something unique: a unicorn. A unicorn is a beautiful, mystical creature that only exists in fairy tales and imaginations. I think it perfectly complements the sentiments of many on the Boston Marathon; it’s a surreal race that only will ever exist in their dreams–to make it a reality is an impossibility.

This is what it is for me.  I’ve never done Boston. I simply hope that one day I’ll be able to cross the finish line and receive my medal. To peak Heartbreak Hill wearing a bib you earned must feel like total euphoria. I wouldn’t know. I only dream about it.

Today many runners across the nation have organized Run for Boston. I hope that anyone with two legs runs just even a few steps to show support for those who will never walk again.

The Boston Marathon

*Updated! As I was writing this, word came in of the explosion. Thoughts are with the runners and spectators! Much love. Such sadness on what should be such a happy occasion.

 

Today the most famous marathon in the world took place: the Boston Marathon. As a slow runner, I am no where near reaching the qualifying time for the marathon. I dream about it, but I’d have to completely change my lung capacity to reach the speed needed to shave literally an hour off my PR. Not easy to do. Thus, Boston remains an intangible goal.

Here are a few of its highlights–maybe one day I’ll experience them with a bib on my shirt and a racing chip on my shoe–not as a spectator:

It takes place on Patriot’s Day. To those of us outside of Boston, the third Monday in April usually means a standard work day (except this year it also means Tax Day). But for the citizens of Boston, it’s a special day off–although no one seems to know why. I guess we can call it Patriot’s Day/Marathon Monday…?

Heartbreak Hill. Anyone familiar with marathons has heard of Heartbreak Hill–the most notorious, dreaded part of the course. Kicking off the last 20 miles, this hill is a killer with runners pushing their bodies to the top (and often vomiting along the way). Be careful if you choose to watch the race from here–you may face a little extra liquid coming your way. Take caution.

Wellesley College. Around the 10-mile mark, runners pass by this all-female college and almost every female comes out to cheer. It’s loud, festive and provides an extra kick in the step of runners as they near the back half of the marathon.

Coolidge Corner. This area can get pretty lively with bar goers packing the streets and local pubs. After watching your runner go by, you can hop onto the Mass Pike or Storrow Drive to continue to spectate and see your runners pass by again.

While it’s difficult to quality for the Boston Marathon, runners do have options to participate. You can join various fundraising groups and if you raise enough, the Boston Athletic Associate will give you a bib and make you an official participant. You can also try becoming a racing bandit and race behind all those officially registered… It’s not the same, though.

Some day I’ll be in that line up!