Sunday, April 20, 2014

Boston Strong

Since the Boston Marathon is tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this), I thought I'd check in to tell you what I'm thinking about. 


I don't watch the Boston Marathon every year. To be honest, sometimes I don't even like watching it. The logistics of parking and road closures, the inevitable headache from focusing so hard to find the runner you want to see, and the hoarse voice from yelling so loud… Yes, I know it's much harder for the runners, but sometimes spectating a marathon is no joke either. But, some of my best memories from college are from Marathon Monday. When you live on the route, the logistics are a lot less, and when you are in college you can acceptably drink away your worries and just cheer with reckless abandon. The Boston Marathon is amazing because of the runners, because of all they sacrifice to train in the cold winter months, because of all they sacrifice to be able to run up Heartbreak Hill, because of so much more. But, the spectators are important too. They are also what make it such a great marathon to run. That is why it broke my, and the world's, heart when two men placed bombs down next to the spectators at the finish line. The hardcore spectators who had braved the parking and road closures to support the people they love and cheer for the people they don't even know. The running community took it personally, Boston took it personally, everyone took it personally. 

I was in DC last year during the marathon. Eric and I woke up early on Monday morning and were being crazy tourists  in the city when the text messages started flooding in checking to make sure we were okay. We saw the effects of what happened in DC: flags at half mast, much tighter security, etc. The effects of what happened were clearly felt outside of Boston. But when we got home, it was hard to think about much else. I wrote about being thankful for the good moments in these big moments of crisis. It was easier to focus on the positive.

Boston gets a bad reputation because we don't always seem friendly and welcoming, but I think we showed the world that we are strong and we take care of each other. That Friday we took such good care of each other that the city of Boston and several surrounding towns literally stopped completely so that the police could find one of the bombers. It was scary to be told not to leave your house on what seemed to be a Friday like any other, but no one protested because finding one of the men responsible for attacking our city was everyone's top priority on that day. From the business owners who lost money keeping their shops closed, to my students who were stuck inside on a beautiful sunny day. 

I'm still proud of this city. 

I am sometimes reluctant to be a proud American (but don't you dare say anything bad about us), but I am always proud to be from Boston. We have a beautiful and historical city, with great restaurants and amazing sports teams. It doesn't bother me at all if you don't want to talk to me in the grocery store line, actually I'd prefer it if you don't. You'll take care of me when it matters. 


I am so proud of all the runners and spectators for the marathon this year. I am so proud of you for overcoming your fears and showing the bad guys that they will not win. 



  1. Great post, Kelly! The bombings during the marathon really impacted me because marathons are such a happy, supportive environment. It really bothered me that there are people who tried to take away from the joy of the marathon. It also was one of the first times I've thought - 'that could have impacted me'. I hope that everything goes smoothly today and I am definitely thinking of all the participants and spectators today.

    But like you said, I think it did show the nation and the world that Boston is a special place and that when it comes down to it, it's the kind of place where people come together during tough times.

    And for the record, I don't want anyone talking to me in the grocery store line either, so if that is the kind of place it is, I think I'd fit in. ;)

  2. I have mixed emotions about the Boston Marathon this year. Largely, I'm glad the running community is coming back a year after the bombings. Here's hoping the city, the races, the spectators and all its supporters has a day to shine on the anniversary of such an awful day.

  3. Um, people want to talk in grocery store lines? I don't like it when people do that, either. Or anywhere, really (planes, baseball games, in line at the zoo or wherever). But I am a nice person and will hold the door for you or help you if you dropped something. Just no unnecessary chatter please and thank you.

    My first thought last year was for you and your family since you're the only ones I really *know* in Boston, and then how scary since I have SO MANY friends who run marathons. Hate that it could have been them or their friends impacted.