Resilience. Determination. Perseverance. Courage. Endurance. Persistence. From tragedy to triumph.
Meb Keflexzighi. Rita Jeptoo. Dick Hoyt. Rick Hoyt. The runners who did not finish last year. The runners who did. The couple who wants to finish what they started. The runners who will run the race for the first time.
April 21, 2014. Patriot’s Day in the great state of Massachusetts but more importantly, it is Marathon Monday. Boston style.
A year after the tragedy that vibrated down the Boylston Street, the City of Boston is once again on display. For hours, people have lined the streets, eyes have been glued to TVs and live streams and runners have been pounding the pavement in an effort to raise their arms in victory as they cross the finish line at the 118th Boston Marathon. We all knew this day would trigger a wide range of emotions throughout this country but I do not think I expected the barrage of tears that fell as I watched both winners cross the finish line.
As I skiddaddled over to the Boston Marathon website, I rejoiced over the fact that I had tuned in just in time to see the last two miles of the race. I was partaking of my lunch that would soon turn chilly as I silently cheered at my desk for race leader Rita Jeptoo. She was on pace to not only win but set a new course record. My mouth fell open in disbelief as I found out her split time for Mile 24 was four minutes and 50 seconds. UNREAL. It was at that moment that I knew destiny awaited her. She looked strong. She looked confidant. She looked like she had only been running a couple of hours, which was true. I am not even going to describe to you what I look like coming out of Mile 24. Actually by then I have gotten my pep back in my step but anyway. I definitely do not look like Jeptoo. As she headed down Boylston Street, the tears started. The story was perfect. A repeat winner. A new course record. Back to claim what was hers again. Twitter exploded over her triumph and as the internet celebrated, an American hero awaited his turn.
Just a few miles back, Ehiopian-born American, Meb Keflezighi, only had pavement standing in between him and the one thing no American man has done since 1983, finish first in the Boston Marathon. With Wilson Chebet of Kenya closing in on him, the race was setting up to be a sprint to the finish. However, Keflezighi, feeding off of the momentum of the crowd and no doubt the tragedy of last year, found some speed in the reserve tank and managed to create some space between himself and Chebet. As he barreled down Boylston Street admist the the cheers, screams and tears, Keflezighi pumped his fists and smiled. Could this really be happening? Could things really be set up this perfectly? A course record and an American winning all in one day? In one of the world’s most prestigious marathons? Just a year removed from tragedy. Could triumph really come back with a vengeance? The answer to all those questions: yes. “Marathon Meb” had done it. The Boston Strong way.
From tragedy to triumph. Land of the free, home of the BRAVE.