Columns, Opinion

Ladies I Am Right: Why we celebrate the Boston Marathon

My dad signed me up for a running club at home two years ago. Once or twice every week, I get an email update about the races that everyone is signing up for, including which ones need volunteers and who’s going to be helping out. Less frequently — thank goodness — I get an email about a member that has passed away or an announcement that a family member of theirs passing. The club gets together to mourn and celebrate the life together. At race day, members high-five and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

By nature, running is a sport that brings people together. The equipment is limited, and usually just requires some form of footwear. There are ancient running tribes, however, who don’t even do that and just run barefoot. It’s an easy sport to watch, where spectators can pick places on the running trail or track, get together and cheer on the runners.

Most importantly, runners can run together. Even relay races, which seem like prime examples of runners competing solo, are an act of teamwork. Any track coach will stress the importance of good communication during a handoff to avoid the fate of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. There’s videos if you want to look that up.

It’s a sport where people run together — through rain and snow, up and over hills and sometimes through treacherous terrain. Runners carry each other across the finish line and pick each other up when they fall. If you’ve ever run, you know what it’s like to be a part of this running community, knit together by a love for the sport itself.

It is an incredible experience to celebrate the sport of running and support those who choose to compete, many running to donate money to charities. Marathon Monday is a special experience, and one that feels rare to Boston University. We get the day off from school, which is a blessing that allows us to enjoy a day where we don’t feel the pressure of going to class. And we get a much needed break toward the end of the semester, when everyone is starting to feel the pressure of finals piling up.

It’s a day when people are brought together to celebrate the sport of running  — celebrating the ones we know that go through the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton and cross the finish line on Boylston Street.

As a senior, this Marathon Monday in particular means a lot to me. I was abroad with my best friends for the last one, so I was away from the city of Boston and its people crossing the finish line. Marathon Monday is an experience in and of itself — getting together with friends, cheering on the runners and celebrating getting the day off from school. It gives students an opportunity to see each other, to come together as a school and celebrate one cause.

The Boston Marathon itself is an example of resilience, kindness and caring. After the tragic events of the bombing on April 15, 2013, the city of Boston united as a force of strength.

We remember those who have fallen, and we remember the bravery of those on the scene, helping others and reacting to a tragedy. The whole country felt the shockwaves of the aftermath of the tragedy, and came out in droves to support Boston being Boston Strong. The next year, when it came time for the Marathon, runners and members of the running community came out to show their support for each other, to watch each other cross the finish line and continue to be resilient.

This Marathon Monday, I’m spending time with my friends and then heading out to the race course to support the strong men and women crossing the finish line. It’s a time to remember my track team and those who dedicate their time to running the Marathon. It’s a time for kindness and acceptance; it’s a time to cheer on those who run for themselves or for someone else. The running community is one I’m proud to be a part of, and one that I’m glad has my back when I need them.

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