In the "real world" we are strangers. We might have extremely different backgrounds, thoughts on politics or tastes in music but the minute we lace up our shoes we are both runners.
From that moment we are no longer different. You may run a 6 min/mile, I might run a 10. You might prefer short races, I might prefer long. You might run without music while I run with but none of that matters.
We will talk shoes, PRs, goal races, past races, and favorite races. We will bond over lost toe nails, post race beers, crazy pre-race rituals and Garmin stats. We will laugh over stories of crazy training runs.
We will cheer each other on when we meet out goals and commensurate together when we don't. You will understand what is it like to watch the world wake up on a run and think 20 miles is the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.
When we take off our shoes we are no longer strangers. Sure we may go our separate ways but we are forever entwined in this bigger community. We share are a community of runners - a driven and determined bunch who understand hard work, passion and perseverance.
Thank you for allowing me to to be a part of your "family."
You are are the start and stay to the end. Through the wind, rain or sweltering heat you stand there, smile on your face, jumping up and down, cowbell ringing loudly encouraging family, friends and strangers to keep moving forward. Running can be a solitary sport, a lonely sport but today you make sure no athlete ever feels alone.
You make signs, plot spectating point, play photographer. Your presence, your words of encouragement, your enthusiasm help athletes push through those hard moments, through pain, through exhaustion. You are at the start to calm pre-race nerves, offer words of wisdom and hold jackets. You are the finish to celebrate successes, ease disappoints and every mile in between. If you weren't there it would be just training run, you add to the excitement, the atmosphere - you make it an event.
Sometimes we don't always acknowledge you like we should. Sometimes all we can muster grunt. You put up with a lot - hours of training, being woken up my early morning alarms, loads of laundry, constant hunger. There is also a good chance we have ended up covering you in salty, snotty, sweaty hug. But we appreciate your presence, your support, your encouragement more than you know. You take an interest in our passion and we get to share it with you on race day.
And for that, we are eternally grateful.
My thoughts and prayers are with Boston.