Watching the Boston Marathon is going to be extra special for me this year. As the day fast approaches, there’s the obvious anticipation of watching the likes 2016 US Olympians Desiree Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward and Galen Rupp, and Canadian elite Rachel Hannah.
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With last year being an Olympic year, a lot of the must-watch runners were absent from Boston, which makes this year feel that much more exciting. This, however, isn’t the only reason I’m looking forward to tuning in on Monday morning. What’s most meaningful to me about this year’s Boston Marathon is that it offers a connection to running that has been slipping away from me over the past three months as I’ve been dealing with injury.
No other race, in my books, represents the resilience and spirit of a runner more than the Boston Marathon. Every single person who lines up at that starting line in Hopkinton and makes their way over the Newton Hills, past Wellesley College, and onto Boylston Street, represents the true strength of a runner.
My eyes will be on the elites on Monday morning because this is where I find the most inspiration. Desiree Linden and Meb Keflezighi are longtime favourites of mine. Both are gutsy, no-frills athletes, who are calm and steady amidst what can often be a chaotic experience. Linden has been forthright in voicing her goal this year: to win. Since missing the victory by two seconds in 2011, a win in Boston has been on her mind. As for Meb, this will be his last Boston Marathon, as he’s retiring after the New York City Marathon. Meb’s race on Monday will be a special moment in running history, as he’ll always be remembered for his victory in Boston in 2014, the year after the bombings.
On the Canadian side of things, I find Rachel Hannah interesting. She too is a gutsy, no-frills athlete who had an impressive debut in the marathon back in 2015 at the Ottawa Marathon. I look forward to watching her in her first Boston Marathon.
While my focus will be on the elites on Monday morning, it’s the entire production of the Boston Marathon that offers inspiration. From the weekend warriors looking just to get across the line, to the volunteers at aid stations, to the resilient people of the city of Boston, this marathon represents all that’s good about the sport of running: the sport I’m missing very much right now.
My hope is the results from my bone scan will indicate a speedy return, but I know there’s a good chance my foot is going to need more time to heal. In the meantime, the 2017 Boston Marathon is going to help fill some of the void I feel right now in not being able to run, and will serve as a reminder of my own resilience and commitment to the sport.