- This was printed in April of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 48th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.
I started writing Mind Over Miles nearly one year ago, just three weeks after the 2013
Boston Marathon bombing inspired me to qualify for the nation’s oldest marathon.
Back then I barely knew my coach or any of my Wicked Fast Wascally Wunning buddies.
But when I heard about the bombings and watched the news coverage of the terrorist
attack it deeply affected me. I worried about the members of my running family who ran
the race that day. I cried for the runners and spectators and victims whose perfect day and
happy lives had been ruined by two coldhearted idiots. I felt personally attacked, though I
was 3,000 miles from the race and not yet a marathoner.
In the weeks after the marathon there was talk amongst our group of trying to qualify for
Boston to join Coach Brad when he returned in 2014 — he was stopped around Mile 25.6
when the bombs went off. His brother-in-law Phil Gonzalez finished the race before the
explosions, but there was no doubt he’d qualify again and return to the race.
As the 2014 Boston Marathon approaches I get more and more disappointed that I didn’t
qualify for it. I’ll hopefully be able to register for next year’s race, but this year is going
to be the big one.
Last year’s bombings killed three spectators and injured more than 260 people. On
Monday, a million people — double the usual crowd — are expected to line the course
and cheer for the record field of 36,000 runners. Their presence at Boston’s largest crime
scene will be a demonstration of resilience and courage that the world has come to know
as being Boston Strong.
“Spectators, six-deep, screaming ten times louder than this, 100 times louder than this!”
Phil told me as he paced me to my Boston Marathon qualifying time at the Modesto
Marathon last month. “It’s unreal. There’s no marathon like it. It’s never quiet.”
That will be more than true this year.
Brad is looking forward to finally crossing the Boston finish line after 17 years of trying
to qualify for the race and then being stopped about a half-mile short of the finish line
due to the bombings.
“…Having to wait another year, I’m just ready to get it over with,” he said. “But crossing
the finish line is meaningless unless it’s shared with your friends and family. Imagine
crossing the line of the biggest stage of all running and no one there to congratulate you.
It’s all about friends and family and how they got you there.”
No matter how many interviews I watch and read, no matter how much Boston Marathon
trivia I’ve memorized, I still feel like I don’t really get it.
I want to be there. I want to understand what it’s like. Thousands of Bostonians take the
day off of work to line the streets of the city on Marathon Monday. How cool is that? I
know how much work and dedication it takes to qualify for the race, but I won’t know the
importance of that hard work until I actually get there.
The way it’s looking, there will be plenty of Wascallys to share in the joy at Boston 2015.
Good luck to Madera’s Benny Madrigal, and all of the other runners who will be at the
Boston Marathon on Monday. Run strong and stay safe.