Damp, windy conditions held down the crowds and ballooned the finishing times today at the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, but, for competitors, spectators, and anyone who is a runner, Boston, Massachusetts today was, indeed, the center of the universe.
Social media enabled runners and those who follow them to chronicle their journey, which began in the pre-dawn hours, as competitors boarded the hundreds of yellow school buses that transported them to the athletes' village at Hopkinton. Arriving at the city of nearly 30,000 runners, marathoners attempted to remain warm, take care of their bathroom needs, amid the armed presence of police and security guards in the woods surrounding the Hopkinton Middle School. Huddled together like vertical firewood, they stayed warm, discarding their disposable clothing in the moments before they began to move. Finally, the soles of their running shoes touching the blue mat at the starting line, their magnificent journey, the product of many months of diligent and dedicated training, began.
At the finish line in downtown Boston, after 26.2 soggy, windy miles, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Caroline Rotich from Kenya, broke the finish tape first for the men and women, continuing East African domination of the storied race.
American runners fought valiantly in both the men's and women's race.
It was then, however, that the stories of the men and women who, perhaps were not blessed with world-class running ability, and are not professional runners, began. They crossed the line, some crossing the line some four hours after the winner. Men and women of all ages, from all over the world, who covered the hills of New England to earn the right to say, "I ran Boston," and to have the medal, emblazoned with the unicorn and the number '119' forged on it.
For them, on this day, April 20, 2015, Boston was more than just the center of the universe, because they were a part of it.
Congratulations to all of you.