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What the Boston Marathon means to me

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Almost 75% of Boston marathon runners are running to raise money for charities. The Dana Farber team raises money for cancer research, the Horizons for Homeless Children team raises money to support their programs, the Children's Hospital team raises money for research on illness that are ending the lives of young people. 75% of the runners are there to raise money for these and so many other organizations.

Then there are the Hoyts, a father and son team. They have run over 30 Boston marathons together. What is remarkable about the Hoyt's is that Dick Hoyt pushes his grown son, Rick, on a special wheelchair through every race. Rick was born a quadraplegic with cerebral palsy. And, every year this family runs 26.2 miles together.

For many of us who live in Boston, they ARE Boston. They are the spirit and grit of our city: hard work, perseverance, and belief in ourselves and one another. They inspire us every year to be better than we have been the year before.

Four years ago I joined them and ran the Boston Marathon as part of a fund-raising team for people living with AIDS. It was my first and so far, only, marathon. Running alongside thousands of other people, through streets lined with people calling my name and cheering me on, watching the miles tick away much more quickly than I imagined; this is one of the most memorable events in my life. I often tell people it completely made up for those 3 years in middle school when everyone was making fun of me. Thousands of people yelling: "Go Janet! Looking good Janet! You can do it!" I literally have never had so much affirmation in my life. I felt fantastic and amazing as I ran.

I trained for 9 months here in Boston to run that race. That means I trained in winter: running through ice, snow, dark dark mornings or dark dark nights. I ran for hours on a treadmill, spending at least two hours running every 4 days. Can you imagine? Two hours out of four days a week for nine months. People say the marathon is hard, but frankly, the training is much harder.

I have lived alongside the marathon route at mile 22 for 6 years now. We gather friends, host BBQ's and spend the day outside cheering the runners and walkers. We offer orange slices, water, and our belief that each runner can finish this race. In a city known for its chill, strangers come out of our thick winter shells and celebrate with one another. We express our belief in one another, in our city, and in spring.

I feel so sad about the explosions yesterday. I still cannot imagine that it occured. Tomorrow I go into my university classes, located 2 blocks from where the bombs exploded, and will try to offer comfort and support to my students. I want my students to see that in the midst of great sorrow and pain, we have the capacity to respond to one another with gentleness, understanding, and love. I want that beautiful spirit of the marathon, people helping other people, to continue to permeate the streets of Boston. I want us to rise up and to be our best in this moment.

So, to all the runners, walkers, marathon workers, fireman, policeman, and people of Boston, may we come together in compassion and love to heal ourselves and our city.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CAROLYN0107 4/23/2013 3:37PM

    Thanks for sharing. Go Boston!

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DARYLBN 4/23/2013 2:18PM

    Thank you.

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NASFKAB 4/21/2013 10:09PM

  awesome post thanks for sharing all the best

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CANDOIT54 4/21/2013 11:32AM

    Thank you for sharing. Also congratulations for blog of the week.

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BARHAAS 4/21/2013 2:52AM

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring and heartfelt story about your love of Boston and what running and watching THE Boston Marathon has meant to you. Nothing can ever take those positive experiences away... emoticon

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JAMER123 4/19/2013 10:01PM

    You show great compassion. Please keep that attitude. Also the medical staff has done an outstanding job of caring not only for the runners but the injured. Bless you all!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ADAPTOR 4/19/2013 7:53PM

    Thank you for helping others see goodness in these dark moments.

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GEMLADYONE 4/19/2013 7:38PM

    Thank you for sharing this.

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LYNMEINDERS 4/19/2013 6:37PM

    Amen to you....

I know your students will be totally blessed for having you with them....

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POPSY190 4/19/2013 5:04PM

    Thank you.

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HARROWJET 4/19/2013 4:46PM

    Thank you.

Judy emoticon

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GINA180847 4/19/2013 1:01PM

    I sure hope the second brother of the two will live long enough to explain why he and his brother did what they did. Such a horrendous thing to do!

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TINY67 4/19/2013 12:39PM

    Good Blog

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ASOBFALLS 4/19/2013 11:44AM

    emoticon Beautiful and thoughtfully done. Thank you

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AMARILYNH 4/19/2013 8:27AM

    Wonderful blog - you expressed what I'm feeling this week so well! I try not to allow myself to dwell on sad happenings like this but I'm having a hard time shaking this one off.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/19/2013 7:55AM


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LYNNWILK2 4/19/2013 7:06AM

    YEAH YOU!!!!
and today, on Friday with all the chaos again in your city, I will continue to pray for you. As your city has struggled this week to find the normalcy of your daily lives and then to wake up this morning to the news.
This blog is so inspiring and has captured the heart of what so many of us who do not live in Boston but feel great compassion for you all.
Thank you for sharing and I hope that you are a safe and sound.

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JUMPINJULIE 4/18/2013 3:29PM

    I'm with you. I love Boston I live a half hour away on a good day of traffic as you know. We will come back and be stronger than before.

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JINLYNN 4/17/2013 10:23PM

    Very touching reflection on what is close to your heart.
Thanks for sharing, and hugs.

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HARMONIUM 4/17/2013 11:45AM

    Your words are wonderful. You remind us of the magnificence of the human spirit.

And I am so impressed by your own accomplishments. Be well!

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HISOWN1 4/16/2013 8:44PM

    great blog and hope you could comfort the students

My husband works on Boylston street not too far away - we always walk to Fenway park from his office so this just brings is all the more closer to us and today he said it was like an army everywhere of police etc but so grateful they are there for us!

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ANYVAR54 4/16/2013 8:35PM

    Well written, and with pride in the right places. I am proud of you for running last year. I am saddened by what happened, and thankful for all of those who helped the injured. Hurray for you as well.

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GCHUNG 4/16/2013 8:11PM

    Ocean_mist commented in her blog about yours and I had to look it up. My eyes teared up as I read and I found my head nodding through many parts of your blog as it described Bostonians. Congratulations on your own achievement of running it. I really hope it doesn't change how this is run too much as I think it would be a real shame if we, Bostonians can not share in this event.

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KATWELL88 4/16/2013 5:53PM

    Your blog is wonderful healing message "capturing the Sprit of the city" that " cares and helps one another in various ways" ( raising money for variuous organizations and various people came to help when the tragic bombing at the finish line emoticon emoticon emoticon ( first resonpender as arunner)gone to help the injured .

your experience being a marathon runner that you trained and hearing the " cheers along the way". emoticon

The story on the father and son ( with the wheelchair doing the marathon was intersting. emoticon emoticon
Boston this city rocks!! emoticon emoticon

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AWESOMECHELZ 4/16/2013 4:59PM

    What a touching and wonderful blog!! Thank you SO much for writing such a carefully crafted blog sharing so much about your beautiful city. AND I am glad no one got hurt of your friends and family. I lived in North Attleborough and worked at Boston Medical Center from 2000-2002 - AIDS/HIV research.

Love, Chelsea emoticon

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