Written by Tess Dooley
Edited by Corinne Hennessey
3 hours, 34 minutes, and 17 seconds.
That time will forever remain important to me as it is the first time I have ever crossed the Boston Marathon finish line. Yesterday was all I could have dreamed of and MORE.
It all started at 5 AM when my alarm sounded and I opened my eyes and just took a deep breathe. That was it- the day had come that I had been dreaming about for months.
I knew that this day would bring emotions that I had never felt, but what I imagined was far different than what I experienced. The amount of love, inspiration, hard work, and determination that filled the streets of Boston is indescribable and the chills that surfaced my body the entire 26.2 miles can surely prove that. I can remember standing in my corral just seconds before the starting gun and looking around me wondering how I was so lucky to be where I was. That feeling has not left me. From the beginning miles in Hopkington, to hill after hill in Newton, all the way to Boylston, the crowd was never missing. Whether you wanted to fall over and crash or sit down in a chair, you never stopped pushing thanks to the thousands upon thousands of spectators lining the streets.
But to call them spectators is so far from what they truly are. These people are my heroes, my happiness, and my striving efforts to finish strong, accomplished, and thankful. Whether it be a clap, holler, gesture, or sign, each and every person standing on the streets yesterday made the journey that much easier, that much better, and that much more memorable.
The Boston Marathon has taught me so much in such a short amount of time. To be able to run 26.2 miles is certainly an accomplishment but what I saw out on the course yesterday showed so much more than that. Runners with missing limbs, full leg casts, bare feet, and even army attire proved to me what hard work really is. Running is the inspiration in the world that keeps people going. Sure an amazing basketball game or a flawless dance performance is an amazing sight to see, but running has been the most inspiring, humbling, and devoted sport that I have ever seen in my life.
To fathom the fact that the race is over seems so disappointing, as if this moment I have been waiting for so long is over and done with. But the wonderful part about it is that it leads me to the next. Experiencing Boston for the first time was everything and more that I could have hoped for. Seeing my family mile 18 and knowing just how proud they were was a moment that I will cherish my entire life. I want that feeling to become normal to me. It is my goal to participate in Boston every year that my body allows until I cannot anymore. I cannot express the gratitude I have for being a participant in the Marathon this 2016.
I did not think I could love running anymore than I did, but if I could run that race every day- you would not have to ask me twice. Hills don’t scare me, temperatures don’t faze me, and competition does not discourage me. Boston inspires me and running prevails me. Thank you Boston, thank you fans, and thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me what hard work leads you to- greatness.