Going Boston Strong.

Navigational Street Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
A year ago, twin explosions left 3 people dead and more than 260 wounded in Boston, today over 35,000 runners returned to take back the nation’s oldest marathon and to run for those, who couldn’t.

This year, for the first time since 1983 an American broke through the finish line of the most profiled marathon race in the world, just seconds before Kenya’s own Wilson Chebet. Meb Keflezighi, who has finished 13 career marathons under 2:12, is an UCLA alumni and three-time Olympian. Defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, who was the top female marathoner in the world in 2013, won the 2014 Boston Marathon for the second time with an official time of 2:18:57, a new course record.

The biographies of the top fifteen finishers, both men and women, are as diverse as they are similar in background and upbringing. For some, running meant escaping a life of hardship, of little income and very few opportunities. For others winning a medal seems to be only a natural consequence of years spent living and training with family athlete champions, and for some it is a combination of the relentless input of ability, skill, and racing intelligence and many, many patient years of beating PR and still being beat by a still faster runner. 

For runners as myself watching Meb, Rita or Shalene thunder through the 26.2 mile marker is as inspiring as it is intimidating. Spending some 20 years running marathons for a win, or finishing 26.2 miles at a time 45 % faster than mine and to not win, but promising “to be back next year”, these are mental incentives of perseverance and dedication reserved to a very few of us. First of all, as humbling it is to conquer 26.2 miles in running, it is also painful. Training for a marathon race is also quite consuming, both in time and in effort, and “getting runs in” can be taxing to our schedule. Then there is also the Damaskus sword: Once we have a PR, we try our best to break it, never mind the other challenges such as weather conditions, road conditions or physical conditions. 

Today my running app advised me to move on to the top marathon training level - breaking that PR. My next marathon race is five weeks away, and apparently going the distance is not enough....

See you at Mile 26.2?