Boston, I love you.

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, female winner of the 2013 Boston Marathon

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, female winner of the 2013 Boston Marathon

I was looking forward to being a spectator at this year’s Boston Marathon. It’s always such a fun event and the crowds in Boston are fantastic!  As a runner, all you need to do is write your name somewhere on your shirt and you will hear shouts of encouragement and might even get kissed by a Wellesley girl at the halfway point! People are cheering and clapping their hands so much that the pain in their palms must be comparable to that felt in the soles of the marathoners’ feet.

I didn’t hear the explosions. There was so much noise it would have been hard to notice. What I did notice though was that the several dozen police officers  in the area were getting agitated while trying to listen to information on their ear pieces. Every officer seemed to have received the same information at the same time. Something was clearly going on. Then about ten motorcycles mounted by police officers followed by several cars drove east toward the finish line. I had already heard about the explosions by then, but the runners were unaware about what was happening around them. When I saw cars without license plates enter the running path of the Boston Marathon driving toward the finish line, my gut feeling told me something else was going on. Those explosions did not happen by accident. It was time for me to get out of the area.

Here is a quote from the Boston Athletic Association, the organizers of the Boston Marathon:

What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.

I disagree. Running this particular marathon was even of greater importance! We Bostonians (yes, I’m counting myself as one even though I was born and raised in Germany) are resilient and can get over this. We love our city with its quirky uniqueness and harsh winters! Running the Boston Marathon is a symbol of being able to do the seemingly impossible. We are proud of our city! Today, we are proud of all those who were there at the scene of the explosions to assist the victims! You are our heroes!

The pictures I’m posting here are not great in the sense that they were taken with a mobile phone, but they show what the Boston Marathon is all about: a friendly competition, a major international sports event, and most of all, for thousands of runners an opportunity to check off an item on their bucket list or to raise millions (!) of dollars for charity. This year, the Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon, the race that I will be running this Memorial Day weekend, will have new meaning. We’ll run in memory of those killed in today’s Boston Marathon event. Our thoughts and prayer are with all the victims and their families.

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Top female runners, place 2 (Hailu) and 3 (Cherop)

American Kara Goucher, 6th place finisher.

American Kara Goucher, 6th place finisher, Fenway Park in background.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, 3rd place winner

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, 3rd place winner

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