“We are different, in essence, from other people. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek, Czech runner who won the Olympic gold medal in the 5,000, 10,000 and the Marathon in 1952
The start of the Marathon moved from Ashland to Hopkinton in 1924. You will certainly begin to appreciate the magnitude of what the small New England town will feel like on April 21, 2014. As we arrive, there will be excitement in the air as thousands of other runners, many of them charity runners, will be preparing and departing for their final test over some of the most challenging miles of the Boston course.
However, there is a seismic gap between what you experienced the morning of the 21 miler and the morning of the actual start. On April 21st the excitement level is beyond your imagination. There will be helicopters hovering above the start when you arrive, you’ll likely proceed to the Athlete’s Village and attempt to calm your nerves. Volunteers will check your race number to ensure you’re entering the correct corral.
Once you enter the corral you’ll likely be a bundle of nerves. You’ll connect with the runners next to you and undoubtedly feel their nervous energy. Once you hear the national anthem and the fighter jets fly over, you know the start is just minutes away. Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a moment and reflect on all the work that you’ve done to get to the start. Most importantly, remind yourself that patience is a virtue and the importance of running conservatively the first few miles until you settle into a rhythm.
You will be so tempted to run too fast at the start because of the initial downhills and the seemingly endless flow of runners passing you. Simply remind yourself that many of these runners will likely be walking on the hills of Newton from miles 17-21. I have always felt the halfway point of the marathon is not at 13.1 miles but actually at mile 20.
You have invested the necessary effort to train and prepare for the historic Boston Marathon. Now it’s time to appreciate the significant sacrifices in your life when most of your friends, family, and colleagues were simply going about their normal lives. Your sacrifice, determination and commitment will be aptly rewarded in just over two weeks. Among the greatest you will recieve will be the encouragement and praise from the people that respect and love you the most…and knowing that you made such a signficant difference in the lives of others!