When I was young my inspiration came in many forms. There were names and faces and books that sparked my imagination. Neil Armstrong, Muhammed Ali, Mickey Mantle. They were the spark in my eye and the drive in my heart that made me want to be more. Now that I am in my 50s I have discovered I am no less inspired than I was 40 years ago. I can thank the Boston Marathon for that. Just recently I was able to run my 3rd Boston and this time was different than the first two. I studied faces. Not only along the course but on the runners themselves. And what I saw was amazing.
A smile can be contagious and when you see a person smiling at you or at themselves how can you not be moved and smile yourself? Each person was there for a reason. Each runner had their own inspiration. Each person struggled with early mornings in the dark as they trained for their marathon. They struggled with heat and cold and injuries I am sure. Yet, they smiled as if it were Christmas morning. I discovered a new respect for marathoners. It was not that I did not harbor any before because running 26.2 miles is quite an achievement for anyone but I think that as runners we can become a little jaded or one-way in our thinking. We are all athletes, we are all one as we move forward. Be it a 5k or 100 miles. As simple as it sounds the fact remains that it is only the runner, the individual, the mom, dad, teacher, nurse, student who puts one foot in front of the other till they finish. No one does it for them. No one is any more important or special than the runner beside them. It was once said that Boston is a standing ovation for you for 26 miles. It truly is. Perhaps that is what brings out so many smiles. The people along the course struggle and rejoice with the runners. They feel the pain and they feel the joy and their energy and encouragement inspire us. If the world had the caring and support that I felt what an amazing place it would be. So smile when you walk out your day. The sun always comes up…..