It’s the only sport–really, the only game or activity in the world–in which:
Dozens of countries and people of all shapes, sizes, and colors are represented.
Athletes vying for a world record share the course with athletes supporting charity.
Athletes who can run a mile in five minutes share the course with athletes who are missing a sense, don’t have the legs to climb stairs on their own, or don’t have the hands to tie the laces of their sneakers on their own.
Everyone is given the same task and everyone’s main competition is just themselves and their personal best.
There’s a 26 mile stretch of fans and spectators cheering for anyone and everyone, including familiar faces, strangers, and people from rival universities–all as if there’s an endless wall of support linked by hands held and echoed with the shouts of everyone’s first names.
There’s no such thing as a race or taking away from someone else’s success: athletes genuinely wish the best for the competitors in front and behind them and spectators are genuinely proud of all runners and inspired to participate next time because they, too, want to be part of this marvel.
A spectator’s natural reaction when an athlete seems to be struggling or is unable to finish is not to blame or ridicule like in most sports but to cheer even louder.
A runner can stop all personal momentum and slow down to hug, kiss, and thank what matters more in life: family and friends.
And from start to finish, there’s not only a collective awe at the mental and physical strength of an individual, for what one can do, and for the human potential, but–in the midst of wars and walls and fights or flights–there’s also a collective positive vibe, hope, and proof for how–for a quarter of a day and for 26.2 miles and on the world’s most storied and prestigious marathon course–everyone in the world really, yes really, can just get along.
It’s how everything should be.
If there’s an example of peace in the world, the Boston Marathon is it.
Congratulations to all the runners yesterday!
And Happy Earth Day!! =)