I admit it, the marathon has a strong hold on my heart. Part of my love for the distance is the inevitability that you will feel vulnerable, elated, scared, and joyous all in the same event, perhaps within minutes. Often times, keeping those emotions hidden is impossible. People expose their anguish, pain, and effort as they pound out the miles, and as runners, we all know how many hours of training, early bedtimes, and skipped parties a brilliant race performance represents.
No matter the year, I am overcome with emotion when I watch the elites finish Boston. Partly because dreams are being fulfilled and dashed within seconds. Desi's incredibly close finish in 2011 was heart wrenching. Shalane Flanagan's race this year was amazing, determination and passion written all over her face.
|A determined Shalane. Photo credit: Andrew Burton (GETTY)|
But of course, this year was extra emotional. Meb ran such a beautiful and controlled race, and the nail-biting finish had me sobbing at the end (as usual). To finally see an American win Boston was magical, especially in the shadow of last year's bombings. It felt like Meb snuffed out lingering uncertainty and fear and replaced it will hope and inspiration.
I'm not exactly sure how 26.2 miles does all that, but that's the beauty of running.