Just crossing the finish line.
Though I can't understand the phenomenon first hand, I guess I can imagine it. You train and prepare for months. You adjust your diet and your lifestyle. You get there early. You run the first 26 miles. You did the hard part! And now you have to run just .2 miles more? I mean, didn't you already prove your point?
On the way to work Monday, I remembered when I got here, I'd have to finish one of the papers I was working on last night. I successfully put it out of my mind enough to go to sleep and wake up, brush my teeth and get dressed, even make my coffee and head out the door. But at one point during my morning drive, I remembered. If you will, this paper is my .2 miles. I've been in classes since January 13th this semester. I've studied and showed up and even wrote the first 18 pages. I did the hard part. What more do I have to prove?
Toward the end of a semester if you ask a college student how they are doing, their first response is most likely "good" followed by "just trying to finish the semester." It's interesting that people so often say, "life is about the journey, not the destination." But on Monday, for the students just trucking along at the University of Miami, and the runners at the Boston Marathon, I really think it was just about crossing the finish line.
To be quite honest, I got the first breaking news alert about the winner of the Boston Marathon, and I forgot the event even had a winner. I mean, you're running 26.2 miles by your own free will. Doesn't that make you a winner enough? Yes, we all know it does, but in the great tradition of marathon running, the winner is whoever crosses that line first. And then there's me sitting at my desk remembering the paper I need to finish, and I forgot this event was a race at all.
Last year at the Boston Marathon, two homemade bombs went off at the finish line, killing three and injuring more than 200 people in the largest terrorist attack since September 11th. The bombs went off at 2:49 p.m., nearly three hours after the winners crossed the finish line. The explosions were in approximately the last 225 yards of the course. Obviously, many did not finish the race. Tragedy aside, it had to be disappointing to those who made it that far to have not been able to complete the task for a reason out of their control. Entrants who completed at least half the course and did not finish due to the bombings received automatic entry in today's race. See? It's about crossing that line.
In leading up to Marathon Monday, news organizations ran features on heightened security measures, last year's runners who have recovered, and last year's runners who are back to finish the race they started. Cheered on by signs reading, "This is OUR Race" runners did what they set out to do. One couple who had each lost a leg at last year's bombing returned and crossed the line in the hand cycle division of the marathon. When a man collapsed just shy of the finish line, one Washington Post reporter captured this photo of four other runners carrying him across. There is a video of this man crossing the finish line on his own, but it would not have been possible without the help of his fellow runners who understood he needed to cross the line.
I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to subject their body to the stresses and discomfort of a 26.2 mile race, though there is much to be said about how you run it: with determination, passion, drive, and strength.
But I can understand why you'd want to finish it, for there is even more to be said about how you cross that line.
You heard it here first,