BlazeSports sends our thoughts and prayers to all the runners, spectators, and families affected by Monday’s horrific attack on a treasured national sporting and civic event. Our own Ann Cody reflects on what the Boston Marathon means to the athletes who dream of making that final turn onto Boylston Street.
On Patriot’s Day all of Boston comes together, as they have for over 100 years to stage one of the great sporting events in the world. The entire city celebrates this race and its athletes. The race course is lined with spectators who take the time to look up your race number so they can cheer you on by name, the smell of barbeque permeates the air tempting you to stop for a bite, and college students offer you a beverage as you pass on by. It is an incredibly celebratory event for everyone.
The Boston Marathon was the biggest race on my calendar when I was an elite wheelchair racer. My coach is from Boston and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Boston is a rite of passage for marathon runners and racers. Qualifying for and competing in Boston is a major life achievement. Family and friends – the people we treasure the most – make the pilgrimage to Boston to watch us race in the Marathon. My most treasured people have been spectators in those stands on Boylston Street.
Long before the Paralympics gained worldwide attention, the city and people of Boston were celebrating our sport and our athletes. From the race start to the press conferences to the awards ceremony to one of the most coveted prize purses in the world, Boston rolls out its red carpet for wheelchair racers. Television crews capture the lead racers and commentators call the entire race. The Boston Globe made household names of Jean Driscoll and Ernst van Dyke among others. We owe them our gratitude for hosting one of the great sporting events in the world.
For now, we will keep the city and the people of Boston in our hearts.
Written by Ann Cody, BlazeSports Director of Policy and Outreach