Monday, October 20, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Boston on a Five Year Cycle

Beate Ritter
We started running in 2004 and at first never thought of doing a marathon. We just ran because it was fun. However, after a few weeks we signed up for a 10k race - my first - and we really enjoyed it! Then after a while we thought: "New York City Marathon. Wow, that would be the race!" So I started small: I did the Berlin Marathon in 2006 and NYC in 2007.

Our plans grew bigger and we signed up for our first Boston in 2009. We had a great race (although slow… Especially me!), but we finished and we decided to come back five years later!

Five years is a good length of time to look forward to something! But how shocking the April 15th bombing news on my birthday back in 2013! However, we decided to stay with our plans, and I was so glad to run my qualification time in Berlin 2013. We signed up early for Boston 2014.

This year’s Boston was so different from any other race we have done. We had signed up to do a short run just three hours after our plane’s scheduled arrival. We passed immigration very quickly, took a taxi to the hotel, picked up our marathon race-numbers, and made it to the water reservoir to meet up with Bart Yasso and a nice group of runners.

We quickly realized the warm welcome being given us runners all over the city! When we had breakfast near the hotel, we shared a table with runners from various countries and we all felt this race would be different. On the way back to our hotel, a shop-owner stepped out of his store and asked us if we were in town for the marathon. He started telling his story. His kids were near the explosion: they were fine, but their best friend was killed!

We enjoyed the expo so much and talked to so many people. We spoke with many race volunteers. We met Katherine Switzer, and also some people from Germany who we had not known before!

With Kathrine Switzer
The next day we joined in our group’s breakfast-run. After we were back we started talking to some runners in the lobby who said they were off for a run with Bart Yasso. It was not too hard to convince us to join in again. Glad we did! On the way we met Bill Rodgers (photostop!) Then something very touching happened: Bart took us to the bridge where many runners were stopped the year before. Three runners in our group could not finish in 2013, so we all followed them to the finish line to complete their last year’s race. What an experience!

Another run with Bart Yasso
Next day was race-day. We got up early, enjoyed the trip to the runner´s village, loved the weather, and were glad to see the army helicopters. We were not afraid at all.

When I started off I knew I would not think of running a personal best, but instead wanted to enjoy every moment of the race. There was not one meter without people cheering us runners on. I was so busy giving “high fives” to thank the people for being out there. They seemed to be happy to see us in the race!

Yes, I finished one hour faster than five years before. No surprise as I am more experienced, but for me it was more important to bring back the race to us runners! An unbelievable experience and we will come back in 2019!

Thank you Boston!

Beate Ritter
Birkenwerder, Germany

For more personal accounts of the 2014 Boston marathon, click here.

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