|(For Hollywood. Looking up Heartbreak Hill.)|
On the other side of the street from us were four college-age young men. As the runners passed by, they would find one whose name was visible (on their bib, or arm, or shirt) and start chanting the runner's name loudly until the he or she responded. At which point they would cheer. A few minutes later, they would find a new target. I loved the enthusiastic, personal way they encouraged strangers to keep going up Heartbreak Hill.
During the half hour or so we watched the runners, we saw runners with one or two prosthetic legs. We saw a man who seemed to be eighty. The amazing diversity of people willing to run for 26 miles was astounding--old and young, male and female, so many different people. If they can do that, surely I can do some of the only somewhat hard things I am avoiding.
There was a man who rode past on his bike cheering on one of the woman runners at mile 20. My guess was that he was riding the whole way with her, encouraging her in this great endeavor. I loved that show of caring. And then there was the couple who ran past holding hands. I wish I had a picture. It didn't matter who was the faster runner. They were in this together.
At one point, a two runners came the wrong direction to the side. The man escorted the woman, who was limping, past us to the medical tent behind us. I love that she was more important than his time in this big race.
I came away understanding better why the Boston marathon means so much to people. It is truly an amazing experience.