Right now, runners are lining up on the Boston Common, waiting to get onto buses that will take them to the start line in Hopkinton, MA. They’re filling the local Dunkin Donuts, snarling morning traffic, and stretching in the sunlight that promises that today will be a great day for running.
It’s hard to imagine that a year ago today, we had just survived one of the weirdest, probably worst weeks in Boston history. First the bombing at the finish line, then the manhunt that kept us huddled in our houses, trying to leave the streets free for police officers. And yet, we stayed strong. We left shoes and roses at the crime scenes. We paid tribute to the fallen. And we kept running.
On Saturday, my mom and I ran the first Boston Athletic Association (BAA) event of the year, the BAA 5k. The race usually has 5,000 people in it – this year it had closer to 10k. We were still at the start line when they started frantically clearing people out of the way because the winner was about to come in (we left the start 11 minutes after the initial start – he came in at 13:26). It was a powerful show of the depth and heart of the running community, to have so many people out so early in the morning to jog together.
As we ran down Boylston, I had flashbacks to a place I’d never even been – to what it must have been like for the thousands of people who were on this street last year, leaving their hearts on the pavement and seeing the finish line at the end of the road, only to have their moment of victory shattered. It was scary to go across the finish line, even on a sunny Saturday. I can only imagine what it will feel like today.
I am so proud of our city for how we’ve come together in this last year. So excited for my friends who are finally going to get to finish that final mile. And so grateful to be a part of a community that isn’t afraid to keep running with our heads held high, no matter what obstacles enter our path. I’ll be there at Kenmore, cheering you on!