This Is Our City
Yesterday, I finished the 2014 Boston Marathon in 3:48. This was almost half-an-hour over what I had been planning to hit, but it was still a major accomplishment.
The first half of the race went almost exactly as planned. I went through the half-marathon split in just over an hour and a half. However, the heat gradually got to me and really slowed me down over the second half. I ended up walking through the water stops at every mile and trudging along at a slower pace. It was tough to watch my goals slip away, but I knew there was no way in hell that I was going to stop.
Here I am receiving my medal from my mother, who began volunteering at the finish line when I first ran the race in 2012.
More importantly, this was the day that Bostonians reclaimed their city from the events that struck the race a year ago. There were more people there than I’ve ever seen before There were plenty of times when I couldn’t hear my music over the roar of the crowd. Yesterday, Boston showed that it was not afraid and that it was going to celebrate what is the most storied long distance road race in the world.
Only adding to the celebration was the fact that American Meb Keflezighi brought home a Boston Marathon win for the United States for the first time since 1985. In the year where Boston needed it most, Keflezighi’s front-running performance both shocked and delighted all who were watching the race. In an interview afterwards, he revealed that his mantra for the race was to try and win as a gesture of respect and remembrance for those who were lost in the bombing last year. I’m sure that this was a common theme for all the runners; I know that it helped me through those last miles.
There were many people who were screaming “Go UMass!” or “Go for Krystle!” as I ran by them. The support from the huge crowds definitely helped me finish stronger than I would have otherwise.
I don’t know where my running career will take me from here. I want to run a better marathon time and I know I have it in me. This training season was tough. But I know that I can take it and improve upon it next time. The combination of an illness a few weeks ago and the heat probably didn’t help. But I will still celebrate my victory and my city’s victory because this race means so much more to Boston than how fast we finished it.
— Matthew Conlon