Ever since I graduated high-school I hoped that someday I’d be able to repay Jean for the perspective, knowledge, and confidence he instilled in me when I was his student. It sucks that the opportunity arose from such horrific circumstances, but it makes me proud to know that the lot of us stepped up to help. Jean is the embodiment of determination and endurance and I’ve tried to run with that same spirit every time I put on my shoes.
I ran these miles this morning along the Charles river. The weather was pure Boston; gray, wet and chilly. The John Hancock tower was swathed in fog. I started at Kenmore Square and ran across the Harvard Bridge toward the cement dome of MIT. The sidewalk on the bridge is marked off in “Smoots”, a unit of measurement invented by MIT student Oliver Smoot in 1958. One unit equals five feet, seven inches, Smoot’s height at the time. The Boston Police use the smoot marks to help determine the location of accidents on the bridge.
Despite the early hour and the unpleasant weather, I passed a lot of other runners out for their final run before Monday’s marathon. I got a bit philosophical and reckoned that the marathon is a metaphor for what life should be like: A difficult event but one that rewards those who are prepared for it. An event where the guy next to you has nothing but words of support and the people cheering from the sides are shouting like you were part of their family. An experience that rewards participation, where everyone is engaged in the same arduous struggle, but no one thinks twice about stopping to help a person who really needs it.
Maybe that’s why I like doing these things so much. I find my utopia out on the roads.