In my little house in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, my current habitat, I have much time for contemplation. In between listening to my favorite music, watching Hulu, Netflix, walks and making vegan dishes, I have much time to consider our sport. Here is the first of those columns.
The 2018 BAA Boston Marathon was a paradigm changing event. Mother Nature spewed rain, wind, cold and sleet on a day where the finest 20,000 of the world’s citizen marathoners joined a few hunded of the world’ elite on a very trying day. In no order, here’s the three observations that, I believe, must be made in regards to this unique day.
1. Marathoners need to learn to not worship the watch. Screw the watch and our obsession with technology. The runners who did well in Boston kept their cools for until the Newton Hills. Bill Rodgers, a man who knows the Boston Marathon course intimately, once told me that his great races in Boston were always preceeded by feeling less than chipper the first 15-18 miles. Our obsessions with heart monitors, technology can add to the sport, but, they can, also make the sport cumbersome. In a world where technology overwhelms much of our life, take the time to embrace a more natural view of running.
2. Listen to the race. Boston will always tell its story with honesty and emotion. Desi Linden won the Boston marathon after six marathons on the hallowed course. She also considered quitting early on. I seem to recall a review of man of the track records from 800 meters to the hour run done in the 1970s. One pundit wrote that many of the WR holders had a moment of trepidation during the race: there was the feeling that they might drop out. They found a way to take the race a few laps at a time, and they found the ZONE. Yuki Kawauchi, the Japanese marathon wunderkid, finally found the day and stage to remind the running community about how the love of the sport should win out.
3. Boston is a sanctuary to the sport. Always remember that. Sponsors like John Hancock Financial Services, way back in 1986, and adidas, way back in 1989, saved the Boston Marathon. Don’t believe me? Then ask former Executive Director Guy Morse about how close the race came to becoming a footnote in history. Boston should have a global field, but it should ALWAYS have the best American field money can buy. And, to top it off, in the paradigm changing conditions of 2018, many Americans raced with their hearts, and not their pulse monitors. Boston Marathon is the place we in the running culture come each year to stop, smell the roses, rain, sleet and hail.