Meb's Win in Boston Helps Us Heal

by - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This past week leading up to the Boston Marathon has been an emotional one, and I'm struggling to put into words everything I've been feeling.


There's the sense of sadness I felt watching the tributes last week and remembering the lives lost, the way communities (both the running community and the Boston community) were senselessly attacked.

There's the pride in the strength and resilience shown both in Boston and in the international running community. Watching people pull together, organize fundraisers, pledge to run in remembrance of those who died or were injured in the attacks and being proud to be part of such a strong and amazing community.

The flood of people signing up to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, the spectators standing five and six deep on Boylston Street at the sight of the bombings, the hopes of the U.S. running community wishing and praying that this is the year an American wins Boston. Because this is the year, more than any other year, we NEEDED an American to win Boston.

[caption id="attachment_3228" align="alignnone" width="500"]Photo from USAToday Photo from USAToday[/caption]

And so those of us who couldn't be in Boston yesterday, sat around our computers, watching the live streams.

We cheered for Shalane every step of the way through the early miles -- hoping against all hope that somehow her training, grit and sheer desire to bring home a U.S. victory to her hometown in the year it needed it the most would carry her to victory.

We watched Meb pull away from the lead pack and open a monster lead. But it was early, and we worried that he was going to blow up at some point and that one of the Kenyans or Ethiopians would overtake him in the later miles.

But still we held our breath and hoped.

We felt the disappointment Shalene must have felt as the lead pack of women pulled away and eventually dropped her as they went on to set course records.

But we still had Meb. Still running strong out in front all by himself. And so we still had hope.

Maybe an American could win this yet.

As we watched Meb struggle in the later miles, the doubt began to creep in. Out of nowhere other runners started appearing not far behind him. We listened as the announcers told us Meb's lead was shrinking.

We cheered at our computers, urging him on just as the crowds in person did, carrying him past the Citgo sign, through the last turn onto Boylston Street, watching him break the tape and re-claim Boston for America.

[caption id="attachment_3227" align="alignnone" width="500"]Photo from Reuters Photo from Reuters[/caption]

We danced in excitement and cried happy tears. We were overjoyed, elated, feeling the adrenaline flowing through our own veins, probably still in some state of moderate disbelief that what we just watched had really happened.

We watched Meb celebrate, listened to the national anthem play and as the reality set in -- that after all these years, an American had finally won Boston -- we finally felt like maybe we were starting to heal.

The wounds of what happened last year will always be there -- a scar that never permanently fades, but Meb's victory was a tangible reminder that in America we rebuild and come back stronger and better than before.

We finish the race. We are Boston Strong.

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