(Photo credit: Keith Montero 2019)
According to weather forecasts this should have been a very rainy, windy and unpleasant marathon race day. It was mid of April 2019, the weekend that the whole city of Boston looks forward to throughout the year and when I was ready to enter the athletes area before the official start line, the sky cleared up after waves of rain and made the first hours of this race surprisingly pleasant. It was my first Boston Marathon. Everyone who is seriously into running knows, that the Boston Marathon is the light house of all major marathons, as well as the oldest of all Marathon races with 125 years of history. A few key take-aways from this remarkable weekend right here:

1. Heartbreak-Hill is Only Half The Fun

Everyone could have known beforehand. Everyone could have prepared for the challenge. Most people did, I certainly did not. And yes, I was well aware of Heartbreak-Hill, probably not of the multitude of its mean little siblings along the distance.

For real, as a Boston noob, this race is a monster, especially since I missed to include hills-drills in my training plan. Those hills have eaten up my soul. The uphill-concrete became human glue: once I weas deep up against the asphalt, it started to bite my feet off, toe by toe, leaving my body behind as a plain meat-bag of pain (that needed the rest of the day to recover from this. Ok, truth be told it took me a week).

The Boston Marathon is a great metaphor of life. It has this suspiciously happy beginning with that easy glide into the race. The following ups and downs up until KM20 taken half-serious like adolescence – you know it all, you cope with it all, you think you’re actually done by KM21.

That series of erroneous assumptions culminates in this heartbreak-hill moment: This too-early feeling of victory once the hills are done, to thenn realize, that the long and steady decline towards the end isn’t  the easy-peasy fun part that you hoped for, at all.

Its like when you’re done with working your ass off, one day: your well-deserved pension is finally being paid out and you have all the time in the world, to do what you always wanted to do. But once you’re there, you realize that your body doesn’t really comply with the type of things you envisioned yourself to do. You’ve become too weak to do Iron Mans. Too cozy to climb up Mount Everest. To spoilt to live off a bag pack for years traveling the world to meet new people and discover different cultures and societies.

Thats the Boston Marathon KM36: You have given everything just to cope with hills and distance, you have overcome heartbreak hill and there you are – finally ready to reap the rewards of this tough race ready to enjoy the last 6KM of slight downhill groove through to the finish line. But those 6KM turn out to be the most painful kilometers of the whole track. No-one told me that!

Your happiness and pain are interwoven and at one point in time you lose track, how those two sides of emotional constitution interact with each other.

Sometimes we purposefully go through the pain, knowing that what remains of this experience wont be the sore muscles and lactate overdose, but this feeling of accomplishment and courage to have successfully pushed through.

2. Those Boston People Are Crazy

I have never seen a city supporting sports like Boston does. But the Boston Marathon is special. It feels like every inhabitant of this city is out alongside the race-route, cheering for every single of the 30.000+ runners. They start hundreds of meters before the starting line (!) and until the very last second of the race. They offer self-made food or fruits, vaseline-sticks or paper-towels, juices or water, kisses (!!) or beer (!). This tradition has come a long way it seems and the people of Boston are probably the best marathon running supporters I have ever seen in my life. And its not only old people or kids, its everyone. And everyone supports you like you’re one of them. Never forget what happened to the Boston marathon in 2014 and how this city copes with it. I was impressed af.

3. Blessed to be part of this family

As always, I wasn’t alone on this journey. As always, there was a group of friends, of brothers and sisters waiting at KM37 to cheer your name and grab your hands, to hug you and fill you up with all the energy that you are lacking that very moment. Its the traditional adidas Runners Marathon cheer point, a few KM before the end, that helps bringing all the pain and impressions to perspective. That revives your exhausted spirit and makes you fell loved and belonging. This is what we all do this for. Its so simple. We’re in this together, and when you don’t run, you cheer. Thanks to you all who came out to celebrate this epic journey with us.