I have been so focused on preparing the Marathon Coalition runners for Boston the past 5 months that I completely overlooked an important facet of this journey. I spent the entire marathon day consumed by my commitment to get each of them to the finish line in relative comfort.
I met them in Athlete’s Village to offer last words of comfort and encouragement. I spent over 5 hours at Mile 15 in Wellesley running beside them and mentally preparing them for the most difficult 11 miles of the marathon course. And I spent the remaining hours of the day celebrating their incredible accomplishment with their families and friends at the Westin near the finish line.
It wasn’t until Lori, Rider, Macie and I were walking to our car at the end of a long day when I noticed a lone runner that had recently fulfilled a life-long dream of running the Boston Marathon walking in front of us. She looked very familiar from a distance and as we approached I could see the Marathon Coalition logo on the back of her singlet.
That is the moment I realized the 2011 Boston Marathon was the first time a runner wearing the Marathon Coalition logo crossed the finish line. That is also when I realized what that meant to me. It was the realization of a dream!
This wasn’t a logo representing a major organization with plenty of full-time staff and seemingly endless resources to support their TEAM. The Marathon Coalition is truly a collection of 7 smaller charities that work collectively and cohesively to provide an incredibly meaningful experience to each run. Each charity is composed of only 15 runners but together we total a TEAM of 105+, which rivals the larger charities. And we will raise over $700,000 when our fundraising is complete.
When the Boston Athletic Association called me several times recently to ask my opinion about several Boston Marathon related training questions, I began to realize that we had finally arrived. When I spoke at the Museum of Science the week prior to the marathon, I felt honored to have several of the Boston Athletic Association executives sitting in the front row. Afterwards they offered such encouragement for our efforts to make a difference in the lives of so many. I look forward to solidifying my relationship with the B.A.A. as I work with the new charities selected each year in an effort to launch their program successfully.
The driving force behind the Marathon Coalition was to offer the most meaningful experience for EVERY runner and not get bogged down in the quagmire of politics, agendas and personalities. I wanted the Marathon Coalition experience to be pure, empowering and life-altering. I received this message from one of my runners this morning that made me feel I accomplished that goal:
“Coach Rick, I’m already suffering from withdrawal. Saturday mornings won’t be the same. There was comfort knowing no matter how the week unfolded I could count on the alarm going off on Saturdays and just after 8am, without fail, you’d uplift my and many others’ spirits, instilling confidence, warming our hearts and perhaps most impressive–propelling us enthusiastically out into the elements! Thanks again!”-Lori B.
As I walked away from the Boston Marathon with my family on Monday evening I realized the marathon may have concluded, but my journey and commitment to offering the best marathon training program for the Marathon Coalition TEAM had just begun. I have been working on the 2012 Boston Marathon program for months. I’ve worked closely with the staffs of each of the 7 charities to identify how we can improve and enhance the experience for each runner in the ensuing years and bring their missions to the forefront of everything we do.
Our mission is very simply, empowering others through running!