"Boy grows up in Boston and is inspired by Bill Rogers, a local guy but also an international running superstar, and by the Boston Marathon, a race that has managed to retain it's unique local flavor despite becoming a pinnacle of International competition"Unfortunately, that's not the case. The truth is that for many years I had an apartment directly on the course and I'm 99% certain that I never once watched a single runner go by. I'm not even sure where I was every Patriot's Day. But I doubt I was home.
It's not that I didn't know about the Marathon, it's that I didn't care. And I certainly had no contextual understanding as to the race's place in history. Consider, for example, my first memory of the race. It's from 1980 and Bill Rodgers had just won for the 4th time. But I don't remember that - In fact I just looked that up. Rather, I remember Rosie Ruiz, the cheater.
Within a week, her title was stripped away and she was sent packing back to Florida where a few years later she got busted for being a part of a cocaine distribution ring. Classy lady.
So there you go. My first memory for an event that I have come to realize embodies so much prestige and tradition is one of dishonor. Great. I need to replace that memory somehow, and the sooner the better.
But it won't be this year. I'm on a flight that took off from Boston about 2 hours ago. We are headed for LA. I thought about staying for an extra day but there was just no way. I still got to experience some of the pre-race excitement, though. A 10 minute walk around Copley Square took care of that. There are runners everywhere. There is the finishing chute on Boylston, just to the right of the Boston Public Library. The atmosphere is electric. It's exciting.
I wouldn't have picked up on the excitement 10 years ago. True, I wasn't an endurance athlete then. But sometimes you also have to leave a place and then come back to really understand what that place is all about.
It would have been nice to be able to stay. Next time I guess.....