Boston Marathon
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    Ty Velde | Marathon Training

    The meaning of a Boston Marathon medal

    Ty Velde

    As I reflect on the 2017 Boston Marathon, I’m once again filled with memories, emotion, and happiness. Yes, it was hot, but overall it was a beautiful day. The passion, energy, and excitement I witnessed from my fellow runners, spectators, and the amazing volunteers has once again demonstrated to me what makes running Boston so special.

    While we all have our own stories, and accomplished our own goals, if you crossed the finish line, one thing you were awarded as a symbol of your accomplishment was a medal. To me, this is something to be truly cherished and treasured.

    What does the medal mean to me?


    It’s a symbol of commitment. When I started training for Boston months ago, I made a pact that come April 17 I’d be ready to run this race. I would commit myself getting ready, training, and preparing myself for race day. It’s a symbol of my commitment to finishing Monday’s race and to keep on running and pushing myself. Yes, there were some challenging moments, but no matter what the circumstances I was committed to seeing things through to the finish.

    It’s symbol of dedication. I was unwavering in my training and passion for Boston. I can’t tell you the number of early mornings I put in and the number of miles logged just to get to the starting line in Hopkinton. To me it’s also symbol of my dedication to this race. This was my 16th consecutive Boston run, and as I hung that medal with all my others, I could not help but feel a true sense of pride.

    It’s a symbol of strength. Monday was a tough race. I was hard-pressed to find someone who said that the conditions were ideal and that they posted a personal best. Yet, we all took on the challenge to finish this race despite the conditions.

    It’s a symbol of heart. There was sign I saw just after mile 16 and the bridge that crosses Route 128 that said “Training Got You to Newton. Heart Will Carry You to Boston”. This sign in many ways symbolizes to me what running a marathon is all about. While heart means many things, in my opinion if there is one defining value associated with it, it’s passion. It’s about passion for running, passion for Boston, passion for seeing a long-term goal through to the end. While I draw strength from many places, what Monday showed me is that to run 26.2 you must not only be strong, but that your heart must truly be in it and that passion is the true fuel of the marathon spirit.

    The medal we receive is not because we have won or merely just participated in this world-class event. We receive it because we have all accomplished an amazing feat. While all may have done so with our own goals and style, not matter who you are, we all share the collective title of Boston Marathon finisher.


    This is truly an honor that to me means so very much and while the spirit of the marathon will always continue to live on inside me, it’s the medal that is the outward symbol of that achievement. It is a symbol of all that the marathon represents as well as the values that I hold dear not only as a runner, more importantly as a person.

    Congratulations to all!

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