Well, I spent an hour grinding away on the elliptical trainer early this a.m. But I was thinking about the Boston Marathon — held yesterday for the 114th time. The Boston Marathon is a major sports event, attracting elite runners from around the world. Yet, for average folks like most of us, it’s a celebration of what’s possible — and also a reminder of what limitations we all have.
That tension between what you want to do and what you realistically can achieve has always been one of the attractions for me in long-distance running. Putting aside the elite runners, for most others just getting to the starting line — almost anywhere and for any distance — represents a celebration of commitment and goal setting.
I know it was for me when I first decided that I wanted to complete a marathon. And finishing the 26.2 miles at marathons in Columbus, Washington and Pittsburgh is something that I will always consider to be a big personal accomplishment.
So I really don’t care all that much about the elite finishers. They deserve credit and they are tremendous athletes.
But I really enjoy watching and reading stories about the majority of other runners who set a goal — for whatever reason — and then accomplish it. You can see it in their smiles when they cross the finish line.
And for someone who would have liked to — but realistically never will — run the Boston Marathon, those stories make me smile.