There’s a road race in Boston on Monday. An actual athletic competition. Thousands of athletes will compete to see who can cover 26.2 miles faster than anybody else.
Remember when the Boston Marathon was just a footrace?
The Marathon was quaint and charming in its early years, became somewhat corporate and commercialized in recent decades, but the special trappings of Boston assured that it remained uniquely ours. Marathon Day was a fun field trip on our April calendar. It meant no school and no work for most of us. Friends and relatives in other parts of the country could never be expected to understand any of it. We were the only ones who acknowledged Patriots Day and found nothing odd about a major league baseball game starting annually at 11 a.m. on the third Monday of April. We were the only ones who knew Clarence DeMar, Johnny Kelley, Billy Rodgers, the Hoyts, and Heartbreak Hill.
Everything, of course, has changed. This year, the Boston Marathon belongs to the world. It stands as a symbol of American freedom and a population refusing to cower to terrorism. Bostonians, New Englanders, Americans, and citizens of the free world on Monday will return to Hopkinton to reclaim a celebration that last year was interrupted by murder and mayhem.
On the eve of the event, we remain consumed with the pain and healing of victims, and victims’ families. We are forever thankful for first responders and we celebrate those who serve and protect. Everyone who lives here, and that means everyone, has some connection to this event and the tragedy that unfolded in 2013. Now we wonder how it’s going to feel when we reclaim the day; when victims, responders, and their families and friends cross the finish line; when runners who were stopped before Kenmore last year finally get to finish the race they started April 15, 2013. We expect that it will be heartbreaking, exhausting, and exhilarating.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week