I’m on the bus to Hopkinton, the legendary start to the Boston Marathon – the world’s oldest and most celebrated distance race. It’s my third time running it in as many years, and while the novelty of making it here has long since worn off I am still deeply inspired by this event and what it represents to the 27,000+ runners who have found their way here today.
On this bus rides people who are well on their way to fulfilling a life’s dream, most having set out long ago to do whatever it took to train themselves to not just run a marathon – but to run one fast enough to qualify for Boston. Each person has a unique and fascinating story to tell of their incredible, breakthrough journey to get here.
I find myself mostly impressed, however, with the people for whom this is their 10th, 15th, 20th time, or those who are members of the so-called “Quarter Century Club”, people like Ben Beach who will run his 44th consecutive Boston Marathon today on his quest to surpass record holder Neil Weygandt who retired last year after running his 45th in a row. I am in awe of people like Dave McGillivray, the Boston Athletic Association Race Director, who makes it a point to run this race every year even though it takes him over 9 hours and he finishes in the dark, alone, and one of the last to cross the line. What that must take! Long gone is the novelty. Long gone are the days when qualifying for Boston used to really mean something. All that remains is a silent resolve, a relentless commitment that is deep and special to each and every runner.
In this sea of people, coming together to push our bodies and our minds, each one of us discovers something extraordinary about ourselves. No matter how many times we may have done it. For me, it is about the consistency and resoluteness required to play full out in life and to achieve outcomes we didn’t think were possible. Whether it is in business or in life, it doesn’t matter. It is all the same. Marathons are a fantastic metaphor for the indomitable human spirit. When we set our minds to something, there is absolutely nothing we can’t achieve.