Dear Boston Marathon Runners:

by Jason Fitzgerald

In less than a week, you’ll join over 36,000 other runners from around the globe to run the world’s greatest marathon.

But next Monday will be different. Last year the running community was devastated by a senseless tragedy that took three lives, injured over 260 more, and forever changed all of us.

Despite all that, here we are – preparing to race from Hopkinton to Boston once again. Like I proudly exclaimed one year ago, We Are Runners, And We Will Run.

It’s just a few days until – for many of us – we run the most important race of our lives. Some of us have waited years for this opportunity. Others have hoped, dreamed, planned, and worked for this day for as long as they can remember.

When you’re in your corral waiting for that gun to go off, you have a decision to make. You can go out too fast, give up on the Newton Hills, and maybe muster a weak smile at the Wellesley girls in the scream tunnel.

Or… you can race smart and draw energy from the record one million fans on the sidelines who – for just a few hours – will cheer like you’re sprinting down the homestretch in the Olympics.

Mile after mile, execute your plan. Be patient. Be flawless. Be tenacious. Be perfect. Be relentless.

You know, the more marathons I run, the more I realize that the marathon is just like life. Most of it isn’t too challenging. But the hard stretches will test your character like nothing you’ve ever known before.

You’ll wonder if you’re cut out for this. You’ll debate slowing down or walking. When it starts to hurt – and it will – you’ll doubt your ability to get it done.

Don’t.

Don’t settle. Don’t expect less than your best. Be a perfect version of yourself on Marathon Monday.

You have before you an opportunity that most runners will never have.

I’ll say that again: most runners only dream of running Boston. You are running Boston – and your greatest accomplishments come from your biggest opportunities.

My high school coach use to ask us late in a race, “You have a decision to make. What are you going to do?” It forced us to make a conscious decision to settle for another hum-drum performance or give it our all.

If you read Strength Running, you’re a runner who doesn’t settle. Strength Runners accept challenges – even when they seem insurmountable. You fight for every second, every meter, every mile. In any race, it’s the runner who’s willing to run to the edge who succeeds.

Because you know when you cross that blue finish line on Boylston Street all the sweat, tears, and even blood will be worth it. Every sacrifice you’ve made over the last six months – the pre-dawn runs, the missed parties, and countless miles – will make the difference between just another marathon and the best race of your life.

And when I line up with you in Hopkinton to run the most historic foot race in the world, I know you’ll make that sacrifice with me.

Next Monday, you will run the race of your life. You’ve earned it.

When our friends and family see us finishing the Boston Marathon – making a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston – let’s make sure they forever remember the race of our lives.

So… you have a decision to make. What are you going to do?

***

Post-pep talk announcements!

The Boston Meetup: this Saturday, I’m hosting a meetup for Strength Running readers, runners, fans, critics, and people who wonder if I’m actually a real person. All are invited, even if you’re not running Boston or think running is just for weirdos who secretly love short shorts.

It will take place at Clarke’s from 4-7pm, located in Fanueil Hall at 21 Merchant’s Row. More info on the announcement post here.

The Boston Course Guide: if you’re running Boston and want a detailed, “insider’s look” into the Boston Marathon course, I contracted a more experienced runner to write a comprehensive course guide.

More info on the guide and author can be found here.

Tracking My Race: if you’d like to check on my progress during the marathon on baa.org, my bib # is 1644 and I’ll be in Wave 1, Corral 2.

I’ll see many of you this weekend and along the course. I can’t wait!

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Nicole

Good luck!!! :)

RocCityRunnerDad

Today I shall run. I run for me. I run fast and free.
You can’t tell me how far, or how fast I can run, only me.
When I run I have a power that no one can touch, no one can see, no one can take from me.
It’s there all the time, waiting. If you are close, you can feel it. If you are important, you will know it.
It is the most powerful thing I know. I learned how to use it long ago.
Today I shall run. I run for me. I run fast and free.
RocCityRunnerDad

Can’t wait. Getting excited. Wave 1 corral 8 bib #7098

contact@ellipticalguy.com

“Marathon running, like tennis, is a game for players, not winners. That is why Callaway sells golf clubs and Nike sells running shoes. But running is unique in that the world’s best runners are on the same course, at the same time, as beginners, who have as much chance of winning as your average weekend warrior would scoring a touchdown in the NFL”

Sarah Cooper

Excellent article, Jason. I find your blog incredibly inspiring. Thanks for writing!

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