About five years ago on my first day in college, an upperclassman who was fixing the TV introduced me to what Marathon Monday was. Now, I had always known about the Boston Marathon, but never paid much attention. Marathon Monday has different meanings to different people. To college kids in the Boston area, it means a day of drinking from morning until night, which is what Marathon Monday meant to me for the past five years. Sadly, I never really understood how much the Marathon meant to a lot of people, as well as the city of Boston. So many people show up to support the runners and cheer on complete strangers who had trained hard to make the 26.2 mile journey to the finish line. I was able to make my way down to Washington Street at mile marker 17 to watch some of the race and cheer on some of the runners, but most years I hadn’t cared enough to take the time to go and support even just a few of the participants who make the Marathon what it is.
Being about 10 miles from the finish line, none of us knew right away what had happened. People started finding out one at a time and making their way to a TV where they ended up for the remainder of the day. There were many different emotions from everyone. Some were shocked, some were worried, some were scared. Phone calls weren’t going through and people were trying to get a hold of friends or family that were near the finish line to make sure they were okay. The videos and pictures from the news are ones that will stick with all of us, I think, forever. Seeing all of the innocent spectators and runners targeted by such a gutless act just did not sit well with me at all. It opened my eyes to how unpredictable the world is.
I immediately began thinking of what I could do to show my support for the people who were hurt or had died, or even those who were there and had to see first-hand things that no person should ever have to see. Now, I am not not a runner at all. I was an athlete most of my life and running was the worst part of practices for me. I couldn’t understand why people just ran for no reason. I still don’t quite understand, but some people who loved to run that were at the marathon won’t have the chance to anymore. People who lost their legs or suffered injuries that will change their lives forever won’t have the opportunity to run the marathon or run at all. That is the reason why I want to try my hardest to be able to participate in the Boston Marathon next year. I want to run the 26.2 miles for all of the people who can’t now.
President Obama said it best in his speech, “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up, we’ll keep going. We will finish the race.” Marathon Monday used to be an exciting day for me to look forward to, but for all the wrong reasons. Going forward, the day will have a whole new meaning, and I think this is true for a lot of people. I only had the pleasure of living in Boston for four years, but I will always consider it home, and one year from now I have no doubt that the 118th Boston Marathon will be twice as big as this year and the people of Boston won’t let this tragic event affect how they move forward.