The Push Rim Wheelchairs just launched across the starting line. Ten minutes later, they will be followed by the Eilte Women runners. At 10:00 the Elite Men will stride out with 13,000 other marathoners. By 10:30, all 25,000 participants will have left Hopkington headed for Heartbreak Hill and the finish line in Boston.
Even as a 10 year old attending my first Boston Marathon, I was amazed by the emotional enormity of this event. Living in a small town near the race route, we often drove by Bill Rodgers training. Relentlessly running alone along those narrow winding roads, he seemed so human. I couldn’t really beleive it when he won and they placed the laurel wreath on his head. His victory made it seem as if every ordinary person willing to commit to something had the potential to be a champion.
As I witnessed more marathons, I focused less on the winners and slowly realized the full poetry of this event. Each year there are thousands of people who are not there for the prize money. If you listen to the throngs of supporters lining the streets, you can catch threads of the personal stories surging through the sea of runners imploring them to ignore their nerves.
For instance, Team Hoyt will be competing in their 27th Boston Marathon and their 1,000th race today. That would be an impressive feat for anyone but 67 year old Dick Hoyt doesn’t just run, he pushes his 47 year old son, Rick, ahead of him. Rick was born unable to walk or talk but when they race he doesn’t feel disabled. Their inspirational message of inclusion has driven Team Hoyt to complete 60 marathons and 6 Ironman Triathlons (composed of 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 116 mile bike ride and then a 26 mile marathon).
Leslie Nordin understands what motivates Team Hoyt. Her son’s blindness prompted her to attempt this marathon blindfolded. She will have a series of guides run alongside her to navgate the inevitable potholes and twists in the route. She hopes “to inspire Sawyer to meet the challenges he faces each and every day” and to raise $25,000 for Perkins School for the Blind.
Adidas recognizes how much Boston cherishes this sporting tradition and these extraordinary athletes. They have generously sponsored our beloved marathon since 1989 and now they have designed a Limited Edition Supernova Sequence 2 to commemorate it. There are only 800 available so act fast if you want one of these 9.8 oz, royal and yellow beauties.