This is the second month of the Taking the Long Way Home Running Book Club. Thanks to Wendy for hosting! Be sure to check out her link up for other thoughts on this book and others.
For runners in April, this month’s book is absolutely perfect. 4:09:43 Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners is a new book by Hal Higdon of Runners World. The day of the Boston Marathon in 2013 is never far from the minds of many runners and has certainly been on all of our minds this month, with the conclusion of the trial and next week’s upcoming race. I can still remember finding out about the attack when I was working in the Children’s Hospital and realizing in that moment that I considered those runners and those spectators part of my tribe. Hundreds of miles away, I still felt affected and shaken, as I think many of us did. Last year, I was teary watching the finish and realizing again how amazing the running community is.
I confess to a little trepidation at reading this book. I wasn’t sure I was ready to really delve into the horror of that day, which I know is a little cowardly of me. Surprisingly, that isn’t what this book is about. This book is largely about the stories of all of the other runners and volunteers and race workers present that day, which I love for so many reasons. We haven’t heard many of these stories and yet these people were just as affected emotionally and psychologically as so many of the others we’ve seen in the news and in photos.
Higdon does a wonderful job of weaving together the stories of so many people from various social media sources to take us from the beginning on the race through the attack and beyond. While I found myself constantly bracing mentally for the moment of the attack in the story, that doesn’t come until 60% of the way through the book (thanks to the Kindle for that statistic). I loved reading about the race from so many different perspectives and getting caught up in the magic of race day both because I personally enjoyed reading it and experiencing it vicariously (because honestly, odds are low I’ll ever run Boston) but also, because it so important that we hold on to the wonder and magic of this race and not let the terror attacks take that away. Thanks so much to Hal Higdon for presenting this and helping to preserve some of that wonder.
Of course, eventually the attack must be addressed and I was struck by the real sense of confusion and chaos for those just outside the immediate blast area. I was also struck by the stories of the Boston locals and spectators reaching out to shelter and aid those fleeing the attack area. The best parts of humanity can be seen in times of great stress as well as the worst and I was inspired to be reminded of that.
This is a very quick read and a great insight into not just the Boston Marathon in 2013, but this historic race in general. It’s definitely worth checking out this month as we celebrate one of running’s flagship events. Be sure to check out Wendy’s interview with the author, Hal Higdon, here. It’s interesting both in terms of the learning how the book came together and his thoughts on it, as well as his thoughts on his running career in general.
Will you be running Monday in Boston or elsewhere? Who already has plans to watch the finish wherever they are?