As a long time resident of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Patriot’s Day is the one day that puts our town on the map. For one morning every year, the running world turns its eyes to the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Having attended 17 straight Boston Marathon starts, this event became more than just something that put my hometown on the map. It became an event that would shape the person I am today.
Every time I walked to the Hopkinton Common on the first day of my spring break I was exposed to the world’s greatest marathoners. I would watch them prepare for hours, not fully appreciating the months of prior training they have all put into this race. This all culminated in the start of the race, and 20-30 minutes of cheers and high fives as tens of thousands of runners crossed the starting line, and embarked on their 26.2-mile journey to Boston. After all the runners crossed the starting line the only thing on my mind was “I need to go for a run.” Every Patriot’s Day was the unofficial start of my summer running.
This is what made me a runner, I do not know what exactly caused it, but being from Hopkinton and being exposed to this rich tradition and history turned me into a runner.
Being from Hopkinton made me a runner, and being a runner is what made me the person I am today. Running has taught me many of the values that I pride myself on, and values that I respect the most in others. Countless miles throughout my life have taught me the value of hard work, dedication, persistence, humility, and countless other values that have me the person I am today. When I see others standing at the starting line of a marathon, or any race for that matter, there is an unspoken respect I feel for the other runner, knowing the training and time they have put in just to stand there. Seeing another runner on a rainy Hopkinton morning in October, I have an immediate bond with them even though I do not know them. I can immediately respect their dedication to brave the elements and get out and run. Running has taught me countless values about being a decent person, and I learned these values through an interest that was born on 17 straight Patriot’s Day’s in Hopkinton at the start of the Boston Marathon.
Nothing embodied this spirit of a runner more than last years marathon and the tragic events that took place at the finish line. Runners who just finished the marathon didn’t stop running, they ran straight to the hospital to give blood. For the runners who couldn’t finish, other runners organized an unofficial ending to the race so they could experience crossing the finish line. This is the spirit of running, this is the spirit of runners, and this in the spirit that will be on full display during the 118th Boston Marathon