After spending six days in Boston, I can safely say that perseverance best describes this year’s marathon after organizers successfully executed the event.
After last year’s horrific occurrence, many predicted that drastic changes would be made, and of course, they were correct. Many items were banned including backpacks, suitcases, and certain costumes and props. Despite the changes, the world-renowned marathon took place on April 21, Patriot’s Day, without any disturbances.
This year marked a new beginning for the Boston Marathon, with slogans such as "Boston Strong" or "We All Run Boston." The runners, volunteers, and spectators alike knew that 2014 was the year to overcome the past and make this year memorable, which in many ways, it was.
First off, the heroic father-and-son duo, Rick and Dick Hoyt of Holland, Mass., completed their final Boston Marathon together.
Dick, 70, previously stated that last year would be their last, but following the 2013 bombing, they felt it was mandatory to run one last time.
Rick, 52, has cerebral palsy and doctors encouraged Dick and his wife to institutionalize him, seeing as though he would be a "vegetable" his whole life. The couple did not listen to the advice and with a small amount of persistence, they were able to set him up with a computer that would enable him to communicate with his family by the age of 11.
A few years later, Rick asked if he and his father could run a race together in honour of a boy who had recently become paralyzed. After this, the duo became unstoppable. During their 37-year career, they completed more than 1,000 events including 255 triathlons, 32 Boston Marathons and 97 half marathons. Seeing as though Dick has now finished running marathons with his son, they have begun a search for a replacement runner.
In addition, the first-place finishers have both made history this year.
In the women’s category, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya finished first for the second year in a row. Not only that, this was her third time winning. In addition, Jeptoo set a course record in the women’s category of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. Jeptoo is a world-class marathon runner who has won eight of her nine marathon races.
On another note, Eritrean-born American runner Meb Keflezighi completed the race first with a time of 2:08:37. This marks the first time an American runner has won the Boston Marathon in more than 30 years.
Keflezighi is also a world-class athlete who has competed in the Olympics three times, winning a silver medal in Athens in the men’s marathon.
To commemorate those who died tragically during the events of the previous year, Keflezighi wrote their names on his bib.
Non-professional athletes also made headlines this year.
For example, a group of four runners carried a man who had collapsed metres away from the finish line. By sacrificing their own personal times, these four individuals instantly became prime examples of how the Boston Marathon unites everyone.
Whether you were watching your friends and family race, or spending countless hours volunteering for the Boston Athletic Association, or even running, it was clear that you were a part of something special this year.
With many examples demonstrating that the 2014 Boston Marathon was a major success, our minds will always drift back to the three people killed and the 260 injured in last year’s bombing. May we remember the Boston Marathon as a time to come together and run rather than a sad and remorseful day.
» Dylan Peyachew is a Grade 10 student at École secondaire Neelin High School.