Despite the subpar weather this Memorial Day weekend, Boston was a runners’ paradise.
Saturday morning brought the rain and the One Run. Around 3,000 runners all grouped together at Kenmore Square to run the final mile of the Boston Marathon. For many of them, it was the chance to finish the race that was so abruptly and violently stopped. I arrived just in time to see the children’s choir from Martin Richard’s church sing the national anthem.
Between their glowing innocence, the moving words by the organizers, and a motivating speech from Red Sox player Shane Victorino (minus the big Papi f-bomb), the energy was palpable. It was clear that everyone’s feelings about April 15th are still very, very raw. And with the sound of a bagpipe, they were off.
I hopped on the train and made it just in time to see some of the slower runners and walkers cross the famous Boston Marathon finish line. I saw a bearded man with a knee brace and crutches cross the finish line. Was he one of the victims? I’m not sure. But it was a moving representation about how all of Boston is feeling – no matter the physical or emotional scars, we will prevail and finish what we started.
Sunday morning brought another running event – the Boston Run to Remember half marathon and 5-mile race. The race honors police officers across Massachusetts killed in the line of duty, but this year’s race had a much more special meaning. MIT officer Sean Collier who was killed by the marathon bombers was registered to run the 5-miler portion. To honor his memory, the organizers asked the runners wear a special bib with his race number – 179 – on their backs.
The crowd was a sea of blue and yellow, Boston Strong t-shirts, and USA flags. But despite the heavy police presence and freezing cold temperatures, the mood was festive and exuberant. I didn’t have my best race, no PR’s for me, but I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.
I felt like I had just run 5 miles with 10,000 of my best friends in my favorite city on the planet. Plus, the medal was pretty rad.