Three weeks from today, Monday September 20th, 20,000 runners will toe the starting line of the 125th Boston Marathon while thousands of other runners around the globe will be running a virtual race. The light of the rising moon symbolized an emerging from the tight grip the pandemic had on Boston and the world for the past 18 months.
When we considered where to run on Saturday, I felt a profound pull to the Newton Hills. I smile as I write this remembering last year when we decided we were so over the Boston Marathon and running on Heartbreak Hill. Once you have run the Boston Marathon, it becomes a part of the very fiber of your being and keeps calling you back to be a part of its energy. Our running Club, L Street Running Club were planning to do their last long run from Cleveland Circle to Wellesley College. We were hoping to see some of our beloved Club members who we haven't seen in a year and a half.
While the marathon will be very different this year without Athlete's Village and runners starting their marathon as soon as they arrive in Hopkinton, the need for vaccination or negative COVID test, no kissing the girls in Wellesley or taking food from spectators along the course, and an Expo that will be without the Runners Speakers Series, the Spirit of thMare Marathon is powerful beyond words this year.
Charity runners were out in full force. What a thrill to see Charity Teams' water stops and familiar faces from our running village. We didn't see anyone from L Street but did see a number of people we've known through the years. We walked a bit with a woman who was struggling on the Hill; not an uncommon occurrence during the last long training run for Boston.
"Is this your first Boston?"
"Yes I came up from New York."
"What charity team are you running with?"
When she mentioned the name I commented, "Oh that's who my friend Amanda is running with."
"Yes I know her. She's been great helping me get ready."
"Well let me tell you my story that you can take with you to finish this run and to have with you on Marathon Monday."
I went on to share my journey on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon. She thanked me as she went on her way.
After sharing my Facebook post about our run, we reconnected with even more runners from our village. Amanda shared how her friend had met me and was inspired by my story after they gathered after the long run.
Ruth Anne is training for the Virtual St. Jude 10K and went off at her own pace for a tempo run. She met up with us for the end of our 5K and had caught Marathon Fever hoping to run it again next April for Spaulding Rehab.
It's a very odd time of year to be experiencing the thrill of the countdown to the Boston Marathon but everything has been odd during these past 18 months. On October 3rd, we are going to do packet stuffing with masks, gloves, proof of vaccination, social distancing and air hugs. The last time we did packet stuffing was after the 2013 bombings. It seems appropriate to be doing this as we emerge (we hope) from the pandemic.
I had one of my best times for a 5K in a very long time on Saturday's run. The hill from the Johnny Kelley Statue is typically an arduous climb for me but the infectious energy from the other runners seemed to sweep me along.
Although gentle high fives in passing replaced usual sweaty hugs and shout outs replaced stopping to chat, there was that familiar feeling with all of the pageantry and festivities that always accompanies the last long run before Boston runs again. Halloween replaced Easter as the holiday to celebrate. It was an extraordinary time on Heartbreak Hill that marked the last long run before we countdown to an iconic live event that signifies we are emerging from the pandemic.
From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
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