If we can’t run your race, we’ll make our own!
I had always planned on running the marathon my sophomore year, and my resolve only strengthened following last year’s events. Like so many others, I started training back in December, looking forward to what is such a popular event for the Boston community. It’s the thought of running past all my fellow superfans that encourages me during long cold runs, where the wind bites my nose and the next day I take the elevator both up and down.
But this vision of a sunny Patriots’ Day, high fiving my friends as I make my way up Heartbreak Hill, is not to be. The Boston Athletic Association has asked the bandit runners not to participate this year. I understand the need to show that preventative steps are being taken to prevent such tragedy from striking again. The BAA’s commitment to making this event safe is both necessary and commendable.
However, I have to ask: how much do we let fear change what has always been an inclusive, enjoyable event for so many people? The marathon truly is something that brings in all types of people, from the competitive elites, to the Hoyt team, to amateurs that run in hamburger costumes, the participants come from myriad cities and countries around the world as well as many different walks of life. In addition to the runners, family and friends gather to cheer on their loved ones, as well as whole communities that turn out just to support the incredibly strong and awe-inspiring strangers that take on this event.
Bandit runners have always been a part of this community, and the Boston College Campus School Team is an especially remarkable collection of bandits whose participation has always been a tacitly accepted part of the Boston Marathon. In an ideal world, the bandit runners would be allowed to go through the check points and start the marathon after the registered runners begin, but the decision stands: No bandits on Marathon Monday. It’s sad to see that we’ve let fear corrupt this Boston tradition and hurt the people who least deserve it: the runners.
Regardless, the Campus School is committed to making sure all those who have trained will not be forced to let their training go to waste. On Sunday, April 13th, one week and one day before the Boston Marathon, the Campus School team, made up of more than 350 BC students, will run the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton into Boston.
Last year’s events may have changed some things, but it didn’t break our community. As any runner will tell you, it’s during the recovery period that you get stronger. We are strong. Come show both our resilience as a community and your support for the runners as we run our own “Campus School Bandit Marathon”. I hope to see you there!