I know the blog was called ...2013...but until I cross that finish line in some ways it's one long continuation race.
The Boston Athletic Association graciously allowed those of us who came close but didn't finish to enter in 2014 without qualifying or committing to fundraising. Runner interest in Boston 2014 surged, and I'm guessing the Boston marathon fan base - everyone who camps out there along all 26 miles for hours for the sole purpose of cheering on strangers - will amplify the running world's desire to see this marathon through.
I felt some of that - I still feel electric when I tell the story - the afternoon I ran my last mile a couple weeks later - when a very busy Copley Square full of strangers spontaneously (with the help of some friends who insisted on more cowbell) became the finish line cheering crowd. I took that as the city needing us to finish the race as much as we needed to for ourselves.
My enthusiasm for running in 2014, and I'm sure the energy of the event itself, will be tempered by honoring the loss and suffering so many carried away that afternoon. By running this race, my intent is to testify resilience...another year older and still at it. I am not generally susceptible to regional sloganeering, but Boston Strong, indeed.
And, also, despite the BAA pass, I'll be fundraising again, talking to everyone I meet about adolescent mental health and the suicide prevention and grief support services offered by Samaritans, Inc. The agency's incoming call volume went up about 40% in the aftermath and has remained high.
I have seen how much difference a few bucks make to Samaritans, and I have seen how much difference their services make to people in need. It is an honor to support Samaritans, an honor to run in memory of the daughter of friends, Shaira Ali, who died by suicide on marathon Monday, 2012.
I was asked whether I might have some trepidation about running Boston again, if the marathon might not again attract bad actors, might not be safe. I can't say I haven't given it a little thought - and I know the BAA and others have given that a lot of thought.
I have talked to runners who have decided to sit this one out, and to the other seven of us Samaritans runners from last year who are all-in for 2014, with all the fundraising and training our new teammates have taken on. There are good reasons to make either decision.
For me, two things. One, my commitment to Samaritans and my desire to honor Shaira's memory remain strong, and relevant.
Two, I do not want to live in a world constrained by what ifs and bad actors. A thin layer of possible realities separated me from harm last year, thin enough to justifiably dissuade me (and others) from heading back there again. And I do have my ancestor's genetically programmed anxiety...
But here, I'm going with the pull to live in - to make - the world in which I and many others run strong across that finish line and show the crackpots that they messed with the wrong "f*ckin' city...," that people are resilient and strong and where there is bad intent, there is so much more good waiting to reveal itself.
Oy. I'm running again, and raising money, and having some fun along the way. Please join me! Stay tuned!