On a recent Saturday long training run, I found myself alone testing out the last part of the marathon course and not running with the usual group of weekend road warriors known as the Genzyme Running Team. Although a little bummed at not having some company, and part of me still wishing I had stayed in my warm bed or cuddled on the couch watching cartoons with my kids, I headed out nonetheless with secret intentions of maybe stopping short and recovering in a Dunkin Donuts (who would know right?).
As my weary legs started to warm up (it had been a long week), I began to embrace the alone time and my thoughts drifted to what this road would look like in 29 days time with crowds lining the streets. As I started to pass some of the famous Boston landmarks, I stopped to take a few photos and decided I would turn today’s run into more of a “photothon” and take in the sights and sounds of what I believe is a truly amazing city. Not something I could do while chasing Chris up the hills, following Andrew on his “scenic routes” or trying to keep up the conversation with Jack!
Not being a native of New England but having lived here for many years, I am still in awe of the incredible vibe, spirit and passion that this city exudes. I felt it the first time I moved here and it is never more evident than leading up to the marathon. Being back in Australia when last year’s events occurred, I was like so many, deeply impacted. Having run the Boston marathon once before and having family & friends wait for me to finish, I thought how blessed I had been and how could such a tragedy ever occur. My heart and thoughts went out to the victims, families and runners that day. I vowed through a stream of tears that I would run again one day.
Little did I know or foresee that I would not only have the opportunity to run the following year but do so as a part of the Rare Disease Community and the inspirational people that I would have the privilege of getting to know along the way. And while I ran and stopped to take photos albeit alone, I could not have felt more surrounded and supported by such an amazing group of individuals all giving up their own precious time to raise awareness and funds for such an important cause. To Natali, my beautiful patient partner, Gail, Anne and Ed, and other members of the rare disease community I have met, I am truly thankful to have gotten to know you and for you to have shared your stories. To understand the challenges you have faced yet still approach life with such determination and resilience is truly inspirational. You motivate me every day to run further, faster, harder, do something that matters, laugh more and cherish every moment.
As I crossed where the finish line will be on Boylston St, I stopped to look up at the banners going up for the marathon and saw the theme for this year……We Run Together. I could not think of more appropriate words to describe how I felt that day and to symbolize what it means to be a part of the Running for Rare Diseases team and live in this incredibly unique city. Nothing in this world will ever triumph over what is without question the most powerful force: the love, resilience and strength of the human spirit.
We Run Together……as a running team, rare disease community, city, nation and world.
And then I stopped to have that donut:)