So it is no surprise that when the city came under attack, especially at the oldest sporting event in Boston history, that the entire city and surrounding area would come together to support the victims and hunt down the bombers. My niece Chelsea reminded me the other day of something Adam Sandler said at the time that sums it up. “Boston is probably the only major city that if you fu** with them, they will shut down the whole city, stop everything and find you.”
A little over a year ago I was standing not far past the finish line when the bombs went off and changed the face of the Boston Marathon. A year later I’m trying to keep my emotions in check as I prepare to join 34000 other runners for what should be the most memorable Boston Marathon in its 117 year history. The blog I wrote after the bombing last year had several predictions for this year. Here’s what I said:
So where do we go from here? I’ll make a few predictions. I believe that this will not materially change the format of the Boston Marathon. If that was the goal of the bombers they picked the wrong city and unquestionably the wrong event. We are marathoners; dedicated, stubborn, passionately addicted to our freedom on the roads and undeniably a little crazy. Not the kind of people that scare off easy.
I believe that this will not reduce either the number of runners or the number of spectators next year. In fact, I expect this will be the best attended marathon in the history of the race. My daughter wrote this assessment from a spectators view http://www.tiffanyschmidt.com/boston-love/ . It eloquently sums up what I heard from many others. I believe that some of the injured spectators will ultimately run the Boston Marathon. On that day I hope to be running alongside them to see it.
I was mostly right on the first prediction. They have made some changes to the race logistics to make it safer and unfortunately it will make it a bit harder for the runners but the race itself remains the same. I have to board a bus in Boston at 5 AM to get into the starting area by 7 for a start time of 11 AM. Normally there would be less than 26000 runners but because so many runners didn’t finish last year they increased the number of positions so they could come back and run again this year. I’ll bet there are very few who don’t. As a result, with 34000 runners we are really stretching the limits of the starting area. There will be 4 waves of about 8500 runners each, stepping off a half hour apart. To put that in perspective, the winner will be within a couple of miles of the finish line before the last official runner crosses the starting line.
The second prediction was on the size of the crowd running and spectating. Both will be records. The spectator crowd is expected to surpass a million people (the population of the City of Boston is 636,000).
The third prediction will take a bit longer. Many of the injured are just learning how to use their new artificial limbs. Some of them plan to be watching near the finish and intend to jump in to run the last few steps to the finish line with a friend or relative. I would love to see that. Maybe next year they will at the starting line with the rest of us.
Until that day I plan to be out here doing my imitation of running and in some small way letting the victims know that I care and they are not forgotten. And, I’ll be waiting for them to come join me. I just hope they don’t wait too long…I’m not getting any younger.
If you are looking for me, my number is 21805.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it all goes down.