I will run the Boston Marathon in 2014.
In light of this year’s horrific events, I think a lot of runners have the same determination to compete. Though I haven’t worked out the logistics of actually entering what is already a notoriously difficult race to get into, mark my words: I’ll be running 26.2 miles next April.
Here are 26.2 reasons why:
1. Because marathon running is the only sport where no one boos.
2. Because it’s also the only sport where competitors are willing to literally pick each other up.
3. Because I’m inspired by Walter Stewart, Katy Stewart’s 88-year-old grandfather, who finished the Katy’s Courage 5K two weeks ago.
4. Because three of my former Wake Forest teammates finished this year’s marathon three minutes before the blasts went off.
5. Because there are plenty of opportunities for me to get base training in this summer—Gubbins will be hosting Saturday morning group runs, and I plan on being a frequent presence at area road races.
6. Because the mascot of the Boston Athletic Association, the organization that puts on the marathon each year, is a unicorn. Legend has it that the unicorn was chosen because it represents an ideal, something to pursue but can never be caught. That’s what running is like—an endless quest to push yourself to the limit.
7. Because the Boston Marathon is the oldest—and arguably most storied—annual marathon in the world. When choosing the course, organizers tried to mimic the terrain of the original path run by the Greek soldier Pheidippides from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Hence Boston’s infamous hills.
8. Because Long Island is hilariously flat, whereas the Boston Marathon course is definitely not.
9. Because my brother has run three marathons, and I have run none.
10. Because the day has its own name—Marathon Monday.
11. Because the Red Sox play a home game at 11:05 a.m. each year, and the crowds and players empty out into the streets in time to cheer on the runners as they pass Fenway Park.
12. Because father and son duo Dick and Rick Hoyt run it every year. Rick has cerebral palsy, and dad Dick pushes him in a wheelchair. As of now, the Hoyts have competed in 1,077 endurance events, including 70 marathons (2013 was their 31st Boston) and six Ironman triathlons.
13. Because Bill Rodgers, a four-time Boston champion, is coming out of retirement to run it again next year. He’s 65 years old. Look for him at the Shelter Island 10K on June 15.
14. Because Ann Curry tweeted about performing “26 Acts of Kindness” in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown tragedy, and #26Acts2 in now trending on Twitter.
15. Because Sam Adams creates a 26.2 brew every year. And I want to taste victory beer.
16. Because—sorry Wake Forest athletic department!—I kept my uniform when I graduated college. And it needs to make its post-collegiate race debut at the Boston Marathon.
17. Because I was there for pre-marathon festivities that weekend, and I know that the excitement on Sunday is nothing compared to the feeling on Monday.
18. Because instead of reminding Bostonians that “The British are coming” organizers plastered the city with signs that said “The Runners are coming!”
19. Because I want to conquer Heartbreak Hill at mile 19.
20. Because well-worn shoes are better than new shoes.
21. Because I want to carbo-load.
22. Because, barring getting stuck behind a tractor on 25A, Boston is easy to get to.
23. Because Dan’s Papers is located on the first floor of our building, meaning that the day after the race I don’t have to worry about being in pain because there are no stairs at work..
24. Because training through the winter will ensure that I’m in summer Hamptons shape.
25. Because I want to justify buying new running gear. Lululemon East Hampton, get ready for me to max out my credit card.
26. Because both Boston and the East End are in Suffolk County.
0.2 Because I have to.