In January 2011, while visiting for business, I finally had the opportunity to run in Boston. Though it was extremely frigid, with snow and ice covering the Charles River running trail, it was quite a thrill to run in the city home to the world’s most legendary marathon.
Yes, there are probably prettier places to run, and running within the city has drawbacks. The weather in Boston can be a tad cold much of the year, there aren’t too many running parks downtown, and you better cross streets quickly because the lights change without much lag time (and Boston drivers are crazy). Regardless, the sense of history and culture as you run along the Charles, past Back Bay and by Boston Common is tough to match and makes you overlook any adversity you face. Clearly, others agree, as on the day I ran, many other runners also braved the icy trails.
So it was disheartening to watch the tragedy unfold at the Boston Marathon. It has been a race for which I have long sought but failed to qualify. I am somewhat resigned to not ever running it unless I fundraise for a charity or somehow qualify in an older age group. Still, I followed the progress of friends running it and visualized myself taking part as well. Given the time in the race at which the explosions occurred, I could just as easily have been close to the finish line or meeting up with spectators on the side after finishing. One friend was half a mile from the finish then the bombs exploded, and she didn’t get to finish the race.
An experience that should have been sheer joy and celebration for the participants and supporters became forever marred. Who knows how many people will be discouraged from going to the city or taking part in future races there? Running in Boston, be it for the marathon or just in general, will unfortunately not be the same, at least not for a while. But people are resilient, and let’s hope that the wonderful feeling of running in Boston returns sooner rather than later.