Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston keeps running

Patriots' day is one of the best days to be in Boston. Today was no exception until.. until the horrific and shameful act brought the race to a standstill. The city might have stopped for a brief moment to soak in what happened but Boston keeps running. Nothing can kill the sprit of Marathons or of Boston.

The weather was perfect, not very hot like last year but not too cold either. A perfect weather to run, to be outdoors and to cheer the ones running the Marathon. The most iconic of all marathons where Boston hosts runners from over 90 countries. Runner who are running for world peace, for their sons and daughters, in the memory of their moms and dads, for raising funds for cancer studies, against hunger and guns and for equality for all. The race is a reflection of human spirit to say the least.

I saw the kick-off of the race online and watched Japan's Yamamoto(46) finish the Wheelchair race in 2:25:28 and yet hardly seeming drained or tired. It was simply inspirational and very powerful to watch him cross the finish line. Motivated, I decided to head out to the race scene to cheer for these everyday heroes of the race. I walked barely a mile to 'Mile 24'.

The scene was breathtaking! 100s of runners one after the other, rocking various costumes, with no costumes, with messages, some waving, few dancing, most focussed but everyone returning a smile when you gave them a shout out. I joined the huge crowd of people cheering and celebrating the race. We kept on going "Run Run Run", "Go Mike", "Go Dave", "Go Cathy", "Go Jen", "Almost There", "No stopping Monday" and "You are my Hero".

One of my favorite guys from the race. He cheered for every single runner till his voice gave up. I tried to  keep up with him as much as I could.

Witnessing the race from so close was very humbling. People of all age, many with disabilities, and few even without limbs kept running. A guy who recently lost his daughter ran in her memory, a woman who lost an arm to cancer ran, a 74 yr old was running his 8th marathon, many wear running to test their limits and to prove they too can do it. Simply amazing!!
Wide spectrum of ages at the race - An old guy totally rocking the race and the Tux while little kids cheer them at the  mile 24!
The free spirit of the Boston Marathon

I stood there for 3 hours cheering and chatting with others around me. We cheered together for their daughters and boyfriends and girlfriends. I hugged random people upon news of their loved ones finishing the race. I high-five-d more people than I ever have but the fact that some of them started to run because you cheered kept all of us going.

A large wave of runners clocking in a under 3 hour finish. 

Slow but very steady and solid. Love his beard!  
A marathon is the place where everyday men and women appear superhuman. It does not need a stadium or many equipment, it takes place on the everyday streets where everyday people run and go from ordinary to extra-ordinary.

Team Noah!

And then suddenly in midst of all this there was an unrest. Everyone seemed worried suddenly. I checked Twitter to find out there was some explosion at the Finish line. I just assumed it must be some construction or domestic small scale explosion. But within minutes we were proven wrong and the word that it might be something more serious spread. My friend and I decided to leave not wanting to get in the way of authorities. As the events unfolded and we learned more about the blasts, it just horrified us and sent a chill down the spine.

Why today? Why the Marathon? Why Boston? So many questions and frustrations. Perhaps the forces behind this sick act wanted to break the spirit of the people, perhaps they wanted to shatter the inspiration that the race brings or perhaps they are just sadists who cannot see a peaceful event that brings people of all backgrounds and beliefs together. Whatever their reason, nothing can ever justify such a heinous act. NOTHING!!

The race might have come to a stop but it served its purpose. We did see the undying spirit of the runners. We were inspired and motivated. Most of all, we did not really stop and we won't. Boston Marathon will be back next year with renewed vigor and hope.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a

 marathon.” – Kathrine Switzer



Arjygh said...

Lovely post!
I could feel the spirit as I read through it!

Arjygh said...

Loved the post!
I could feel the spirit as I read through it!

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm so glad you are safe.

It takes a lot more to break the spirit of city than a few bombs. Mumbai is one living example of this.

I loved this post and how you chose to concentrate on the positives of the day. There is so much to be inspired by.

NJ said...

thanks for writing this. nice to hear about the things in the marathon other than the blasts.