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The Dream of Distance Running

When Morgan Meaney was about ten years old her Dad mentioned that he never qualified for the Boston Marathon.  Her dad was a marathon runner, so this statement came with as a challenge for Morgan.  “Since he just missed it by a couple minutes, I was like dad I’m gonna smoke you I’m sorry.”  And as of April 15, 2019 Morgan is now a finisher of the Boston Marathon.,

            The Boston Marathon has been a dream for many runners including Morgan Meaney and Paula Bachman, both actually ran and finished the Boston Marathon April 15, 2019.  Accomplishing a dream they have had for years.  Morgan started her journey with a competitive mind when she was young hearing about her father running marathons.  Paula Bachman began hers after being convinced to run a marathon by a woman named Megan Black whom she trained with and ran with consistently.

            2019 happened to be the year for both of these female runners to run in the most historic marathon on Earth, dating back to 1897.  Boston has been home to this world renowned event for 122 years so what is it like for a town to handle such an event?  The town of Hopkinton which hosts the start of the race holds about 20,000 people, about the same size of Oswego, then the marathon comes to town and it has become quite the event for the town.  The week prior to the event is all hustle and bustle for the town, yet it holds some treasures.  There is a sister city in Kenya that has runners go to Hopkinton to the local high school.  The Kenyan runners come run, teach second and third graders about their culture, language, and even teach them a traditional Kenyan dance.  The track team gets to meet them and talk with the runners to kick of the marathon the day before.  News reporters come from all over the world and all the local channels come to town during the week leading into the race and as Rachel Cronin describes it simple: “I was in the third grade class when I was in third grade so that was really cool, getting that experience with them and talking with them.  Learning a little bit about their language.”

            “The Massachusetts crowd really comes out to support the runners… but the atmosphere was different than any other races I’ve experienced.  You know you go through all different towns and they are there supporting you.  You know they have their own little water stations, you know for hydrating, people handing out orange slices you know volunteering.  It was pretty neat.” Said Paula Bachman on the people of Massachusetts.

            The crowd and people at the Boston Marathon are just incredible they go all out for the marathon, cheering, helping, or just doing whatever they could to help out with the marathon.  Morgan describes the friendliness from a runner’s perspective.  “They put their own time and money into helping out this race and they don’t have to.”  “There is people handing stuff out throughout the course, not just water, like little kids will be handing out orange slices and stuff.  Which helped, I had one and it was really good.  People were handing out beers and all that, but like I would never my body would disintegrate if I tried to have a beer.  It’s really cool, and I keep using the same word saying it’s cool, but it really just is.”  Just standing there waiting for my mom in Ashland, which was 3.7 miles into the race, a man who was from Ashland started talking to us.  No real reason except to be friendly.  Through this man I found out that the marathon lets locals run the course after all the runners have left and they just have you run the course on the sidewalks and don’t keep the roads block.  So you kind of have to run at your own risk per say.  He told us all bought the marathon, was super friendly and told us some pretty cool stories.  And this happened all over.  Every stop people were super friendly and there was a genera excitement about the whole area.  Rachel recounted a great example of the friendliness of the marathon:  “I remember we went with Morgan’s parents and my parents and Morgan’s parents were like wow are you guys like Mayors of the town.  We were like no we just know everyone cause it’s a small town we just kind of talk to everyone…” It was really like this for all 26.2 miles!

            Here we have the setting of the marathon and the feeling of the atmosphere.  The emotion of the crowd, yet what’s the feeling of running the marathon, that’s something I cannot give.

For Paula Bachman it was definitely mixed emotions that really only meant she was thrilled for this to finally come.  “Very overwhelmed because it was such a world staged marathon.  Seeing people from different countries was just crazy, you know it exists but till you’re here experiencing it.  Um then you go and pick your packet up and walk through everything that’s gonna be happening and you just wanna pinch yourself because reality is all the sudden here.  Something you’ve worked for so long at and now it’s right around the corner kind of scary.”  This emotion coming from six years of training, dreaming, hoping and working to accomplish a life goal.  Even for me, I think it was a dream come true to see my mom run this event.  I am a runner as well and so I know the prestige and dedication required to participate in a running event.  To feel the energy seeping into your body the moment I stepped out of the car the first time waiting for my mom in Ashland.  There is the amazement factor at attending a race to cheer and see someone do well, then there is the awestruck feeling of stepping on the stage of the Boston Marathon.  It’s so hard to describe, because this was a dream of mine to cheer on my mom at this event.  It was like standing in the presence of your idol and interacting with them for hours.  Yet everyone around you was in the same boat for hours.  That’s the energy that radiates from the Boston Marathon. 

            For Morgan Meaney this completed a 14 year goal/challenge she had given herself.  “I was like little when I realized I wanted to do it, when I wanted to run distance and when I wanted to run Boston.  Cause you see it on TV you see it on ads you hear about it at school and like all this stuff and wow I can’t imagine doing something like that.”   Her dad had unknowingly challenged her to run the Boston Marathon, as mentioned in the being, while running a pr of 3:45 for a marathon.  Morgan came through to fulfill her promise and smoked his time while running an official time of 3:24:23 at the Boston Marathon, talk about challenge accepted.  It’s like the quote by Sirius Black in Harry Potter:  “I did my waiting! Twelve years of it! In Azkaban!”  She waited and proved herself starting with those half mile fun runs, to cross country in high school, to the 10,000 meter race in collegiate track, to running a marathon and hitting the qualifying time to finally running and finishing the marathon.

Unique window set up for a store a personal favorite of mine.

            “If you have a chance to do it you definitely should.  It’s exactly, it lived up to the expectations that I had.  It was so, I was so hyped up the whole time, and everyone was so friendly and nice and willing to help…. I have to say those scream tunnels, every time those came up I was like it’s so fun.  But I also wanted to take part, I wish I could’ve spectated.  It would definitely be fun to be a spectator.  It was cool to witness.” These where some of the most notable things for Morgan looking back on the marathon.

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