You will be running through most of these towns during our 21 miler Saturday and all of them on April 16th. There is so much running history that has taken place along this amazing route and you will soon be part of it.
You will create your own history beginning this weekend and further developing it on April 16th. Your current focus, as it should be, is likely on completing the distance. But as I look back to 1979 when I ran Boston for the first time in 2:48:35, I continuously consider my history along the course from Hopkinton to Boston and the impact that it’s had on my life. I hope that you will take a moment to look beyond the finish line and contemplate the impact that your Boston Marathon effort will have on your life.
You will discover this journey is so much more than just running. It will define you in ways that you simply can’t imagine. You’ll learn things about yourself for the very first time. You may be sitting in the Athlete’s Village and hearing a language for the very first time or be standing in the starting corral and be inspired by something or someone who you’ve never noticed before.
I remember signing my very first autograph just as I was entering the starting corral over 30 years ago and haven’t signed another one…that’s the power of Boston! I’m always touched by the little girls that are always near the starting line with their autograph books asking every female runner in sight for their autograph. You may spark a dream in a child to one day run Boston…that’s the power of the Boston Marathon!
The marathon is undoubtedly a challenging event and that’s why it is so special. Boston has a history of being one of the most challenging marathons in the world. But as with most things in life, the greater the challenge the greater the reward!
And when you cross the finish line in Boston you will be duly rewarded. You will receive a heroes welcome from the volunteers at the finish line. And when you look into the eyes of a friend or family member for the first time after finishing you may feel emotions that you’ve never anticipated. And you will begin to feel the magnitude of your accomplishment.
When you hobble to work on Tuesday morning with your finisher’s medal around your neck and receive applause from your coworkers, you will feel their pride for you and realize that you’re an inspiration to so many.
You are an inspiration to me, too! I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in your incredible accomplishment.