A week from today I fly to Boston to meet my sons. One is running in the Boston Marathon the day after Easter, and the other – like me – is coming for moral support. We’ve done this before.
No, we weren’t there the year of the bombing; but we were there the year after. I can still hear the announcer at the starting line yell, “Take back the finish line!” And I still tear when I remember standing at the eight-mile mark and seeing runners who were injured the year before come by to cheering crowds.
It was an experience like no other in terms of community camaraderie. At the end of the race, Kevin received a medal as did every other finisher. The next day he and I were walking downtown near the now deserted finish line — he wearing his medal — when a homeless man came up to us, telling Kevin how great he was. That man gave us something, instead of the other way around.
With or without the circumstances of recent years, Boston is like no other marathon. It’s historic, treacherous, designed to batter the runner. And bring elation to those who finish.
I wouldn’t miss it for anything.