I've never liked Boston very much. After all, I grew up in New Jersey as a die-hard New York Yankee fan. Hating the Red Sox is practically encoded in my DNA. Can't stand the Patriots, either. And while I do have the occasional hankering for New England clam chowder, it's pretty safe to say that I've always viewed the city of Boston and their funny-talking populace with -- at best -- an apathetic disregard.
On April 15, 2013, that changed in a matter of fifteen seconds.
Last September, I began running. It happened a little at a time, step by step, mile by mile, and before too long I was completely hooked. I participated in a few official races, trained regularly, and in a short period of time I considered myself to be an actual "runner." I found the running community to be engaging and friendly -- both in real life and in the Internet world. I discovered some great stories about legendary marathoners like Bart Yasso, Dean Karnazes and Kara Goucher, and of course I learned about the Holy Grail of marathoning:
The Boston Marathon.
The Boston Marathon is the only major sporting event in the world where everyday Joes can participate alongside (okay, behind) world champions. It would be like your local softball team filling out an application and then getting to play against the Chicago Cubs. Actually, no, your local softball team could probably beat the Cubs. Let's say the Texas Rangers. I'd love to run Boston myself, but I'll never make the qualifying time of 3:25 or so for a guy my age. I suppose if I can maintain my current level of speed and endurance until I'm 75 I'd make the cut then, but realistically it's out of my reach.
But the pageantry, the prestige, and the history have always made Boston the pinnacle of distance running. And now someone had the audacity to try to tarnish that. And by "try," I of course mean "failed." I've seen the resolve of runners, the passion of Bostonians, the enduring spirit of Americans, and after we grieve, we cry, we remember, and we rebuild, the Boston Marathon will come back stronger than ever, with the memories of those who suffered yesterday fresh in our minds and hearts.
We may slow down for a few steps, but we'll keep on running. In America, there is no finish line.
On a final note, I'll be running my first marathon in just a couple weeks. If you happen to be in Newport Beach or Costa Mesa, California on May 5, maybe you'll stop by and watch for me.
I'll be the guy in the Red Sox hat.