“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond”
— Brian Tracy”
I have effectively been training for the 2020 Boston Marathon for more than 200 days, which is a fair bit longer than a normal training cycle. I did stage down my work and integrate some different types of work but running has been a primary outlet for me during the COVID-19 crisis. The results of owning a quality treadmill and dedicating myself to some advanced training has been noteworthy in my speed and stamina results as I’ve determined to make myself a stronger runner even though I’m “pulling 50” in the age department. My journey of running is more involved than a single blog and chronicled in a lengthy chapter of my book, “See You At The Summit.” My journey to the marathon was about the Boston Marathon and responding to the adversity of the 2013 bombing as well as my guide dog Quinn’s tragic battle with cancer that same year.
The Boston Marathon stands out for the elite runners and perhaps equally for the stories of elite spirit in the causes supported and overcome on the 26.2 miles of road from Hopkinton to Boston. This year the challenge was so immense that it prevented the annual April lining up for the first time in race history. Even an attempt to delay until the fall quickly adjusted in respectful appreciation that the consequences upon the various communities and individuals would be unacceptably high.
The spirit of those who run for so many reasons is too high to simply let the year pass and the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) provided a virtual opportunity which has been met with resounding popularity. I will proudly toe the starting line for this race and with considerable appreciation have my dear friend and tremendous guide, Rodney Andre, beside me to ensure my sightless eyes will once again navigate 26.2 miles of roadway.
Our Boston Marathon is scheduled for September 7 in my hometown of Nashua, NH. We’ll start our run in the cooler morning hours in my neighborhood where we have a 2-mile loop. We intend to have signs at my home for the start which announce it as Hopkinton. As we progress through each loop dedicated to some of the many organizations who have supported our charity and me personally through the years, we’ll have access to water and nutrition almost like the course of the marathon. The signs will change each loop to progress us virtually through the route of Ashland, Framingham, Natick, etc., and even into the Newton Hills. We do have a hill on each end of the loop although not quite the series of hills leading to Heartbreak Hill. Still we’ll climb more overall than the actual course and have less downhill to ease our legs.
What we’ll miss most is the incredible support of the many people along the route encouraging us and lending us energy through their support. That is the part of being physical distanced and responsible which prevents many things including this legendary race.
I do hope some friends may come and share a little physically distanced support along the loop. We know that we’ll play some music at our home by the ever changing signs as we pass by every 16 minutes or so. Perhaps some may walk or run along the route to give a little encouragement though Rodney and I have carefully and knowingly linked our risk factors in order for us to train and run together. We continue to keep appropriately distanced from others as we work together. Friendly voices of encouragement are always appreciated.
What is most appreciated is that in this year of so much struggle, I will partake in at least this one brush with an event I hold important. It is a way for me to show that yes, I need to do things differently but I do not need to stop doing things. It is a way to show I can be strong in my conviction and demonstration of the human spirit to overcome obstacles. There are many lessons in any marathon about pacing ourselves, about training, about tending our needs along the way. There are many lessons specific to the Boston Marathon that we are a stronger people when we embrace the positive aspects of community and acknowledge the resiliency of the human spirit.
As a blind runner and member of Team with a Vision, I have some of the strongest lessons surrounding me in my guide, my teammates, and their guides. Working together as a team enables us to accomplish more as my mantra hopes to always demonstrate: T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More. Even virtually we will be together in this 2020 endeavor!