I spent today at the 116th Boston Marathon, considered by many to be the most prestigious marathon of them all. I have observed many great things about the event, which is organized by the Boston Athletic Association. Here are 10:
10. Military personnel who run the entire 26.2 miles in full fatigues, boots, and backpacks. Makes me feel pretty good about the character of our fine military men and women. Note: It was un-seasonably hot today, w/ temperatures reaching over 90 degrees. Not ideal marathon conditions. At all.
9. Patriots Day in Boston. Those outside New England have no idea what Patriots Day is. Well it’s where people from Massachusetts (you may refer to us as Mass-holes), celebrate being… well… Mass-holes. And it is great. Red Sox game in the a.m., holiday from work, and the Boston Marathon.
8. Runners who put their names on their shirts. So much fun to yell, “Go Susie”, to someone you’ve never met , and have Susie give a “thumbs up” in appreciation.
7. Runners thanking National Guard for their service. I was standing next to a volunteer National Guardsman in full fatigues. He, along with many of his peers, were serving as volunteer Course Marshalls. Countless marathon runners made sure to thank the service-people as they ran by. Cool to see.
6. Athletes with dis-ABILITIES! Sure there are elite athletes in wheelchairs. And they are awesome. However, there are also runners who are blind, runners in wheelchairs who are pushing off the ground with one leg, etc… So many inspiring moments.
5. John Hancock Sponsorship. The company has sponsored the race for over 20 years. Their brand has become synonomous with the event. Most importantly, they leverage their sponsorship for incredible philanthropic impact. Through providing official entries to upwards of 90 worthy organizationsthroughout New England, over $6 million is raised annually for positive social change. The added bonus of this is that the organizations spend very little to raise this much. (Full disclosure: The organization I work for, Special Olympics MA, benefits from John Hancock’s fantastic charity program)
4. The simple spirit of giving. I was giving away bottles of Gatorade, water, candy, sunscreen, etc… Nobody questioned me or was suspicious. People were just grateful. Police officers nearby were appreciative. These simple small acts of giving felt so refreshing. Let’s face it, when else could you just walk down the street and give away food and candy without being punched in the face or looked at like you are nuts?
3. The Economic Impact. The Boston Marathon is estimated to bring in $137.5 million for Greater Boston. No need to elaborate.
2. The Hoyts. Everything that is good about life, love, family, and athletics.
1. The Power of Sport. The Boston Marathon is simply an example of individuals pushing themselves to achieve achieve their goals and athletics collectively bringing people together for positive interaction and community building. Great stuff all around.