Tag Archives: Boston

We Are Boston

15 Apr

The sport of running has changed my life. I have never been so bad at something and loved it so much. My favorite thing about running is the camaraderie and fellowship shown in the sport. Whether it’s spectators along the road with humorous posters or a cup of Gatorade or the fellow runners who offer a friendly smile at mile 22 when you’re ready to die, running is one of the only sports that includes everyone. From the fastest gazelles to the slowest penguins, covering 3.1 or 13.1 or 26.2 miles is something we are all in together.

Today this sport lost its innocence. The sport where everyone who finishes a race is a winner, where we endure injury, blizzards and rain to train, where total strangers come out to cheer for you, was brutally attacked by cowards. The Boston Marthon is the oldest and hardest marathon in the United States. It’s the only race you have to qualify for. It’s the race all runners dream about like a kid dreams of Disney world. History has been made at Boston. The first female to ever run a marathon, Kathy Switzer, did it at Boston. Last year a world record was set by the winner.

Boston has always had a mystical elite aura around it in the running community. We run hard and dream big of running a Boston Qualifier. Today, this special race and the community that loves and supports it was viciously attacked. No matter what the reason, no reason is good enough for an act of violence against so many innocent people. Innocent people who came together for a sport that encourages community and overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles.

The country may be in chaos and mourning right now over this senseless act, but one thing these attackers need to know: runners are strong and resilient. Runners can conquer anything that is thrown at them from a 20 mile hill run to a snowstorm to a coward who attacks their most sacred race. These are people who think running 26.2 miles is fun. Don’t mess with them or their race.

This runner and marathoner stands with Boston today. I may never run a Boston qualifier and my feet may never cross the finish line in Copley Square, but today, anyone who runs is a Boston marathoner. We stand strong with this city and the running community. We are one with Boston.

Movie Review: “Marathon Challenge”

13 Oct

Right before the race this past week, I watched the documentary “Marathon Challenge.” It was produced by the NOVA Network with PBS and is available as a disc only rental through Netflix. I think this is one of the most amazing marathon documentaries out there. NOVA decided to try an experiment: can anyone, no matter their age, weight, etc run a marathon?

The show took 12 ordinary people who were complete couch potatoes and trained them to run the Boston Marathon in 9 months. They had a woman who was 60, a man in his 40s who was HIV positive, a woman who was 70 lbs overweight, a man in his 50s who’d had a heart attack in his 40s, and a few young people. It was a very eclectic mixture, but the one thing they had in common is that none of them worked out. Some had previously been athletes, but no one was currently.

Boston Marathon champion Uta Pippig assisted with their coaching and gradually these 12 couch potatoes became marathoners. One had to drop out due to severe stress fractures in her shins, but was replaced. They all went through testing along the way to chart their fitness progress. The woman who was 70 lbs overweight ended up losing 40 lbs and becoming the fastest female the group. They were all running for different reasons and they were a solid team who supported each other throughout the journey.

Race day arrived and it was time to run the Boston Marathon. Every single person on the team completed the race. It was an amazing thing to watch on screen and still brings tears to my eyes when I watch it. You feel their sense of accomplishment and share in their excitement.

This is a great movie that will definitely inspire not only your running but your daily life. Seeing what these people accomplished in 9 months is phenomenal. Boston is considered one of the hardest courses in the country and to see 12 people who’d never run complete it was breathtaking.

Book Review: 26 Miles to Boston

23 Aug

Over the weekend I finished the book “26 Miles to Boston” by Michael Connelly. It was a fantastic, inspiring read about the most difficult marathon course in the United States. The author was an ordinary guy who had the dream of running Boston. He suffered from a heart condition that prevented him from achieving his goal. He decided to have surgery to correct his condition so he could run the race in spite of protests from his family and friends that he shouldn’t risk his health or life for Boston.

The book chronicles his journey as a Boston Bandit (one who doesn’t officially register for Boston but runs it anyway) mile by mile. He goes through the history of the area where each mile is and what role it has played in the race’s history. I learned a lot of fun facts about various Boston running legends and what happens at the different miles. Connelly has a great voice that engages you throughout the book and makes what could otherwise be dry history interesting and humorous.

Being that I’m possibly the slowest runner on earth, I don’t think I will ever post a qualifying time to run Boston. Reading this book allowed me to experience it as if I were there. Connelly shares all his joys and struggles as he runs the course and you feel the immense pain he is in by the end.

Although many purists believe it is wrong for bandits to run Boston, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and sharing Connelly’s experience. I recommend it to anyone interested in running who is looking for an inspirational story to keep them going.

Buy 26 Miles to Boston on Amazon.com

Marathon Challenge

9 Feb

I watched a great documentary last night produced by PBS and NOVA called “Marathon Challenge.” It took 12 people of all ages, weights and backgrounds who led a sedentary lifestyle and trained them for 9 months to become marathon runners. It was one of the most inspiring shows I’ve seen.

Two of the participants were former athletes, but none were current athletes or even worked out. One participant was even 75 lbs overweight and nearly unable to participate she was in such poor health. Yet, all of them except for one who suffered constant stress fractures, completed the Boston Marathon.

The question was posed at the beginning of the show: can anyone run a marathon or do you have to have a special body type? The answer was anyone can run a marathon if they train properly. Each participant had a story—one man had lived with HIV for 13 years, another had had a heart attack, a young woman’s mother was killed in a hit and run. They were all running for a reason, to overcome something or to prove something to themselves.

Watching them train was amazing. You saw constant improvement throughout the show and doctors were running tests throughout to show the great strides they were making. The woman who was 75 lbs overweight had lost 45 lbs and became the fastest female in the group.

It didn’t matter how long each person took, when they showed them crossing the finish line in Boston, I cried right along with them. It was amazing. And it gave me hope that maybe I can do this too.

I’m scared to death about the marathon. My training has been inconsistent lately with going out of town so much. I knew that it was going to be like this, which is why I gave myself 10 months to train instead of the normal 6 so I could make up for lost time. Nevertheless, it’s a bit overwhelming. Yet, when I watched that show and saw people who hadn’t done anything athletic ever managed to finish Boston, I had a renewed sense of hope.

If they can do it, so can I. And so can you!