My Thoughts on Boston - David Benjamin


My Thoughts on Boston

 I have never run a full marathon. It is highly unlikely that I ever will, and even more highly unlikely that I will ever run the Boston Marathon.

I have run a few half marathons, but have yet to do so in satisfying fashion. Each year that I’ve tried, I’ve run the distance during training with greater success than during the actual race, my training times being 10 to 20 minutes faster and fairly pain-free. My inability to finish a race (so far) in the time I’m aiming for and without pain has meant that the great feeling I should experience at having finished at all, has been eclipsed by a deeper sense of disappointment.

That aside, being at the finish line I get to see all sorts of great moments.

A few years ago, I finished my half at about the same time that the winners of the full marathon were done. It was truly astounding to see these athletes sprinting at the end of their race, after running twice as fast as I can and running twice as far for more than 2 hours.

It has been equally astounding to watch the 75-year olds being greeted by their grandchildren, and the young couples jumping into each other’s arms after finishing their first race together, and the cancer survivors celebrating yet another victory over their disease. Those are some of the people who finish these races at the same time as the 48-year-old guys who have only done this a handful of times and are suffering from cramps as they limp across the line, let-down as usual. (Truth is, there are many more of them who have finished long before me).

No matter how I’m feeling about my personal performance though, I never fail to get a lump in my throat when I see whoever is waiting for me at the end (an allergic reaction, I think), whether it’s my wife, my daughters, my siblings (and siblings-in-law), nieces, nephews, and/or running coaches and friends. Heck, I might even get emotional if I ever see my parents waiting for me there.

My point is that what makes it all worthwhile – at least for me, and at least so far – are the people who are cheering me on; the people who braved the elements and the crowds to be there for me; the people who console me and congratulate me for doing something they haven’t (yet) done. I haven’t let them down, even if I’ve let myself down. And they let me know it.

Which brings me to the moment that I decided I would give distance-running a try. My family and I were in Orlando and just happened to cross paths with the Walt Disney World Marathon. We stood waiting while a bunch of runners passed by. Standing next to us was a very young man holding a months-old, maybe weeks-old baby. We were lucky enough to be there at the moment that his wife – clearly very soon after having given birth – was approaching. The proud words he shouted to her, the sweaty hug, the tears in his eyes, the mom’s kiss on the baby’s forehead – were genuinely inspiring. As she rejoined the race, he shouted “see you at the finish”. I turned to look at my wife and saw that she was a little blurry and that she was caught up in the moment as well.

Anyways, those are some of the people I’ve seen at the end of a marathon, and that’s what I’m thinking about as I take in what happened in Boston the other day.

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