Home Field Advantage

The Boston Marathon is the most prestigious marathon in the world.

That sentence (and the reality of it) is daunting.

The Boston Marathon has two hats.  The first hat is the kind of hat you see at the Kentucky Derby.  Boston is a marathon for the elites, it has incredibly strict qualifying times, and a BQ is at the top of every marathoner’s bucket list.  Calling it “prestigious” is almost an understatement.  But what makes this marathon even more incredible is the second hat, like your good ole baseball cap.  Regular Joe’s get to run Boston too by raising money and awareness for their favorite causes.

I say “Regular Joe’s” because some of us didn’t grow up runners, some don’t have a runner’s physique, and some aren’t very fast, but we are all passionate and crazy, crazy passionate, passionately crazy, all of the above.

On top of our day jobs and/or school, charity runners train like athletes (some getting in shape for the very first time) and raise money and awareness for causes that are near and dear to our hearts.  It is painful, exhausting, and consuming but at the same time, it is equally rejuvenating and rewarding.  Knowing that I get to spend Saturday mornings with Team Long Run is something that I look forward to week in and week out.  There is something very special about being surrounded by people who are so passionate and dedicated to the art of the marathon and the causes we run for.

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I am very lucky to call Boston my home, and I am even luckier to be running this race for the second time for the wonderful Brigham and Women’s Hospital [Insert shameless fundraising plug here].  I grew up outside of the city, but during my years living in the heart of Bean Town, I have witnessed the resilience that personifies the Boston Marathon.  I am speaking of a resilience that is inspiring, not only to get you out of bed in the morning to log some miles, but to be a kind human being.  Boston continuously reminds me that people are good, that love trumps hate, and that together we are strong and can make remarkable things happen.

Living and training in Boston for Boston has its perks.  First of all, the harsh winter weather makes you adaptable (buck up, it builds character!)  Secondly, training on the course gives you an incredible edge, physically and mentally, on race day.  Turning right at the fire house is when I click into gear.  Heartbreak Hill is the ultimate home field advantage.  I know every unforgiving incline of those miles.  This training season alone, I have run Heartbreak Hill 28 times.

I know that this will be my last Boston for a while, so I am ready to eat up every delicious crumb of Marathon Weekend: the Expo, every wonderful mile of the race, mass at Trinity Church on Sunday morning, Sam Adams 26.2, the camaraderie, pasta parties, the sound of cowbells, fancy heat sheets, hilarious and sometimes inappropriate double entendres on signs that were meticulously thought up and created by spectators, the butterflies-in-your-tummy feeling of busing to Hopkinton only to realize the only way back is via your own feet, the kind words of encouragement from family, friends, and strangers alike, the post-marathon waddle (swag walk), and that beautiful medal adorned with the prettiest unicorn in all the land

On the eve of the 2014 Boston Marathon, BWH’s beloved coach said, “The Boston Marathon is the marathon of all marathons.  It is your Superbowl, your World Series, your Final Four, there’s nothing else like it.”  I have trouble finding words to describe the experience that is Boston, but that pretty much sums it up.

Thank You Notes:

  • Thank you to each and every wonderful donor who has contributed to BWH’s quest for Life Giving Breakthroughs. Your generosity is appreciated by more people than you can imagine.  Interested in donating?  Click here to help BWH meet our $1,000,000 goal!
  • Thank you to my beautiful family and friends for enduring yet another training season with me.  I am the only one who can put in the miles, but y’all’s make it easier.
  • Thank you to ice baths.  You hurt so good.

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