Monday, April 11, 2011

They Earned It

One week from today tens of thousands of athletes will be running the 115th Boston marathon.  Every runner followed their own journey to get to that start line.  Journeys filled with hope, pain, injury, tears and ultimately success.  They made it.  They qualified.  They earned the right to join the ranks and run the fabled forty-two point two kilometers.

There is a mystique to Boston that inspires those who have what it takes to qualify.  That same mystique humbles and awes those of us who don't.  It's always asked in a whisper, with a sense of reverence.

"you ran Boston?"  "wow"

And then one has to fight the urge to kneel before them. 

Don't get me wrong.  Those runners I know who have run Boston do not demand our respect.  They do not brag of their accomplishment.  They just exude a certain je ne sais quoi that gets our attention. They wear the jacket and that is enough.

The logo is instantly recognizable. The colours are too.  In fact, runners know what year someone ran because of the colour of their jacket. 

"Did you run the black and red year?  Or the blue and yellow year?" 

In a sport that welcomes all body sizes, speeds and abilities Boston sets expectations and demands them to be met. Most of us will never get there.  That's ok.  Because most of us know someone who ran Boston.  And that's just as awesome.

This time next week the runners will be running Boston.  And those of us who love running will be there just to breathe it all in.  To support our friends and loved ones.  To volunteer.  To stand at the finish line for a photo.  To cry as Dick Hoyt runs past pushing his son Rick in a wheelchair. To watch in awe as the winner finishes a marathon in less time that it takes us to run a half.  Way less time.

I will go to the expo and touch all the beautiful Boston clothes.  This year the colours are a very Irish kelly green and black.  If I were running, I would buy a closet full.  I'm not running so I will not buy anything that might make someone think I did. 

If I earn it - I'll wear it.  Until that day, I will hold the hand of someone who has earned it. 

That is enough.

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