Not just for the runners, but for the spectators, too.
All along the course, on either side, behind fencing and banners, for 26.2 miles, are the loved ones, those who have cheered and supported their friends, spouses, siblings, fathers and moms for months, from the first step out the door for the first training run, to the glorious finish.
These spectators make the trip to the marathon not to participate, but to show their love, a few seconds at a time, at as many points along the course as they can. They shuttle themselves, maybe some kids, and sometimes motivational and/or hilarious poster board signs, from spot to spot, and wait for a glimpse of their runner, anxious, worried for them, worried they might have missed them, worried they won't see them go by, worried the picture will be out of focus.
What they don't worry about is what is in the trash can behind them.
The greatest of all marathon finishes is the trip down Boylston.
This most sacred site of our sport was desecrated yesterday.
Our beautiful, loving, supportive running community was violated.
People who came to cheer and support and love were horribly injured, and murdered.
I've found myself trying to erase these facts, as if it were a story I'd written and now want desperately to change.
But this is our reality, now.
The reality is that we share this planet and time with a very small number of hideous people. But for every hideous cowardly asshole out there, there are a thousand wonderful, brave, selfless people who run into the chaos to help the innocent.
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is the only running goal I've set for myself and yet to achieve. Honestly, after many failed attempts, I'd given up trying.
Today, I want to run Boston more than ever. I want to run down Boylston to honor those who responded with no regard to their own safety, to remember those who were taken and injured, and to reclaim that ground for us, the runners, and for those who support us and love us.