DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
I’ve been working this race for 27 years now and never before have I ever experienced anything quite like this past year….not even close.
I’ve been asked so many times how I have been emotionally dealing with all of this during the past year. Well, like most on the management team, I’ve had to focus on the event and keep my game face on and try to stay strong for everyone else. My mounting anxiousness is not really about race day itself but what is going to happen emotionally AFTER race day once we get beyond all of this.
Last April, President Obama eloquently stated: “This doesn’t stop us. And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us — to push, to not grow weary, to not get faint, even when it hurts. We finish the race. And we do that because of who we are and we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick up.”
During the past 12 months, we’ve worked through three phases – first, recovery and processing all that happened on the tragic day. We’ve never experienced that before. Then conceptualization – what will 2014 look like? We received thousands of ideas and suggestions and recommendations, all well-intentioned for sure. However, it would have been impossible to seriously consider all of them. We are only a staff of a handful of folks, not the tens of thousands who work at companies like Apple or Sony.
And now the fruits of our labor, the execution of the plan, what we do best. The one week count down has begun. On the one hand, I could use another three months and one the other hand…let’s finally bring it on!
As I’ve traveled the country going from one race to another this past year, I’ve been amazed at the outpouring of support and encouragement from every runner. At hundreds of races, millions have bowed their heads in respect and prayer for Boston. Hundreds of people just relayed across this great nation of ours to Boston, symbolizing that we as a nation are all in…we are all in this together.
Everyone, I mean everyone, is talking about Boston and Boston Strong. Everyone will be watching and cheering for us. Pressure, sure…but as I’ve said before, pressure is a privilege.
The world has supported us and has acknowledged us and now it is our turn to return the kindness and the generosity and to give back to our City, to our country and to the world.
Scripture says: Be not afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. It is our turn now to embrace and to hold the world in our hands.
This all has been quite challenging, and at times extremely daunting…it just has been hard…for all of us. I don’t think many of us have been through anything quite like this before. But, these guys messed with the wrong crowd and with the wrong city.
It is now time to take back our finish line, to take back our race, to take back our City. We also do it in memory of our fallen firefighters and police officers these past few weeks. I know I’m looking forward starting my run at 7pm knowing all went well and reflecting on the day and the past 12 months for the next four hours and then crossing that finish line myself for the 42nd year in a row at around 11 o’clock in the evening, last again. That’s okay, “my game, my rules.”
Due to the magnificent work of our public safety officials, their dedication and their unyielding commitment to persevere, I truly believe this will be the safest place on the planet and we will have a race for the ages that will go down as one of most significant sporting events of all time.
So, on behalf of the BAA and the victims and survivors of this senseless and cowardly act, I thank all of you who make up our wonderful running community. Thank you for not giving in, thank you for all your support, thank you for remaining Boston Strong.
And to quote the President back last April one last time: “We come together to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed. When the Celtics, the Patriots, the Bruins and the Red Sox are champions again (how did he know?) – to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans – the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street. And this time next year, on the third Monday in April (now only a week away), the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder than ever, for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. Bet on it!’’
So now, it is time. It is time to show that we are not afraid. It is time to show that we will not back down. It is time to run again.
See you in Boston!