Just when I really needed it, I walked into a bastion of human kindness. A place where the human spirit prevails.
I’m talking about the Boston Marathon – which I’ve been lucky enough to witness eight times in my life. This one being the most special because my baby sister-in-law was running.
The kindness starts with over 500,000 people that line the course from Hopkinton to Boston. Family, friends, supporters, fans – of the runners, of the race and of Boston and its community. People set up stands with orange slices and band-aids and water. And we cheer until we can’t talk anymore – calling out names that are taped or written on runner’s shirts. Clapping, whooping, kissing, singing…
The runners themselves symbolize bravery, perseverance, steadfastness. They train, they sacrifice, they feel pain. They’ve made a decision and they follow through to the best of their abilities. No matter how they make it to the finish line – sprinting, jogging, injured, walking, carried. Moving forward because they’re telling themselves to. Because they want it.
- Like three-time cancer survivor Julie Wescott, 33, of San Diego.
- Like Stan Vancelette competing in his 33rd consecutive Boston Marathon at the age of 72.
- Like 48 year-old Paul Gaunt, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
- Like father and daughter duos. School running Teams. Co-workers. Old friends.
- Like my Megan who ran in honor of her grandmother and decided simply, “I’m going to do this.”
Every year a good number of race participants run for a cause, raising money for disease research or another cause. And the 113th running of the Boston Marathon was no different…but there were some that stood out.
- I saw a man run by with a good sized wooden pole rising out from a belt around his waist. Waving a few feet above his head, an American flag – and over that a handmade flag that called out the ongoing tragedy in the Sudan.
- I saw a Dick Hoyt pushing his son, Rick, in his wheelchair – a father son duo that trek the 26.2 miles every year. The cheers from the sidewalks lifting in a loud wave of recognition. And love.
- I saw a woman running blindfolded, her arm linked to her friend’s and then her husband’s. Her shirt said, ‘Running for Sawyer. Perkins School for the Blind.’ Her name is Leslie Nordin and she raised $30,000 on behalf of her son and his school.
Human Kindness. Self-sacrifice. Doing something, no matter how uncomfortable to help someone else. Reaching a goal. Accomplishment.
Good reminders, eh? I’m a humbled witness.
Props to the Boston Athletic Association for being so tech savvy that you could track runners online and even have updates texted to friends and family.