The Boston Marathon may be over but the experience and inspiration will stay with us forever. On a spur of the moment 30 hour trip, Erin and I decided to head to Boston and watch the marathon. Neither of us have ever been to Boston or the marathon but I am sure glad we did. The city is full of breath-taking architecture, the community is united and pride for the city runs strong.
Monday morning we packed up and headed towards the race. I have seen many marathons, so I assumed it would be like any other, but I was wrong. We were lucky enough to get a spot around the 25.5 mile mark, the race being a total of 26.2 miles. We wedged ourselves in the crowd and absorbed the energy. People were cheering on the runners and encouraging those who were slowing down. We clapped, cheered, and hollered for the runners to the point of losing our voices. We cheered for the group from Holland next to us, who were nice enough to share their licorice treats to soothe our throats, and waited in anticipation with Douglas’ wife as he came close to the finish line. The comradery of the crowd was inspiring. I knew not one person in the race but I felt like I did. I felt proud, I felt inspired, and I felt like I belonged. We weren’t just cheering for the unknown runners, we were cheering for those who dedicated and pushed their bodies to do this, those who suffered a loss in the Boston bombing, those who couldn’t run and those who overcame challenges. We were Boston Strong! (Well, at least for the day…)
Every racer has a story but I found two runners that have inspired me.
Atsede Baysa won the female division with a finishing time of 2hr and 29 minutes. Can you imagine running 26 miles in that time? At the 21 mile mark she was 37 seconds behind the leader but by the 24th mile she was alone and taking on the lead. She flew by us at the 25 mark just gliding with each step. Little sweat or struggle, she ran like this was an everyday thing and it was. She is an Ethiopian long distance runner who specializes in road running events. Round of applause for this girl! I admire anyone who can learn to run like she does, who can dedicate her time and challenge her body to take on a very intense sport. Running for a hobby is one thing but running for a career is so hard on the body. She inspired me to not be lazy and give up. I want to glide like she does, I want to look effortless and not like a heard of elephants coming through.
Adrianne Haslet is a professional ballroom dancer. In 2013, she was walking along Boylston St with her then boyfriend (who had just returned from his tour in Afghanistan) when the bomb went off. Adrianne lost her leg right below the knee. Never letting it stop her, Adrianne won another ballroom dancing competition and ran her 1st marathon, the Boston Marathon. Due to a few stops because of her leg swelling Adrianne finished the marathon within 10 hours, crossing that line with determination. She even was acknowledged and encouraged by President Obama on social media. The crowd cheered her on and encouraged her every move. This is a woman with dedication. She was not going to allow what happened to her stop her! Talk about an inspiration. I am moved by her, her story and her determination.
“I refuse to be called a victim. I am not defined by what happened in my life. I am a survivor, defined by how I live my life.” –Adrianne