Last year, I ran the Boston Marathon and was yards away from the finish when the bombs went off. I was one of the lucky ones who escaped injury, but have watched over the past year as many rebuild and recover from that day.
It was my great honor to return to Boston this week to run the Boston Marathon once again. Like the community and runners surrounding me, we came with added resolve this year.
I arrived a couple of days early to Boston, and was able to attend a Boston Red Sox game. Even there, the spirit of community and rebuilding dominated the game’s theme. A survivor of last year’s bombing threw out the first pitch, demonstrating the meaning of Boston Strong. And to be in the stadium where Boston won the World Series had an additional element of excitement and appreciation for all that the city has done to turn around since that day a year ago.
I can’t recall there being this many people at the race in the past. Lots were racing because they didn’t finish last year, or volunteering to give extra cheers and support to the runners. Many of the injured from last year chose to run again this year, and the Boston Marathon organization honored their resilience. The weekend felt like a 4th of July patriotic tribute to the people and America and their resolve to keep going no matter what tragedy unfolds.
This year was a hot one, so that made the run harder in theory, but everyone was so buoyant with enthusiasm to finish the race this year that it all didn’t seem to matter. I was an hour off my normal pace, but I didn’t care. I was running with thousands who were happy to be there…and happy to finish the race.
This was a special year in Boston. It was more than just a race. This year, we ran because terror didn’t win. We keep going. We keep running. Boston is back because we’re all Boston Strong. The day, the race and the people were what is great about our wonderful country. I’m proud to be an American and part of this great tradition.