As a newer/returning runner I’ve been enjoying reading a number of running blogs. Not long ago a book came up on one of them called 4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners. It’s hard for anyone who follows sports or national news not to know what Boston 2013 is referring to. The bombings at the Boston Marathon.
For those of you who do not know who Hal Higdon is, he is probably most well known from his Marathon/Half Marathon training plans. He is also an author. On the day of the Boston bombings Hal was not on the course but through his Facebook page he met many runners who were.
Throughout the book Hal interviews people who were at the marathon from beginning to bombings to after. Hal talks with runners like Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic medalist and runners who were just there to get the Boston medal.
It is interesting to read each of the perspectives that are told in 75 different voices. Each chapter takes you through the course of Boston & through the little towns as if you were running it along with the runners.
As one of the biggest (and toughest) marathon courses out there, it is a huge accomplishment to say you’ve completed the course. Just to paint a picture of how large the race is, Hal Higdon says:
For a brief period of time, at least until the moment Jeptoo crossed the finish line, every runner running the Boston Marathon was on the course together. Every single one of them! The 23,000 runners of Boston 2013 probably covered near 20 miles of road. They filled that road, like a snake slithering toward the sea.
Each story is unique as each runner is unique. Hal talks with them as they discuss the ups and downs (That later would feel like nothing compared to the heartbreak they will find at the end) of what it is like to truly run the Boston course.
As a runner, I was interested in this book for not only the running side of it but for the amount of history that was written that day. Every single person will remember where they were when those bombs went off. For those who were there, it will never leave their minds.
I was slightly convinced that it would make me want to run the Boston Marathon some day, even though I have no desire to ever run 26.2 miles. For those who share the same concern, don’t worry you’ll be fine! While it is one of the greatest accomplishments you can have as an athlete, sometimes its better to stay a spectator ;).
The end of the last chapter sums up the point Hal Higdon was trying to get across throughout the whole book:
Two days later at a memorial service for the three victims killed in the bombing, President Barack Obama echoed those same words: “This time next year on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.”
Yes, Boston, we will be back.
Boston isn’t just a race, it’s an entire world coming together & Hal Higdon make’s sure that readers know it wasn’t just a few people that day in Boston. Evey one had their story & their reason for being there!
I read this book as part of the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, I classified it as my book that will make you cry. While it is sad, it is also inspiring so I highly recommend picking up a copy!