Nonfiction Nagging- 4:09:43 Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners

After a busy, stressful few days I planted myself in the backyard this beautiful afternoon with running guru Hal Higdon's new book 4:09:43 Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners and read it in one sitting (because it was less than 150 pages, not because it was fantastically amazing). Higdon, who was not present at the event, but still a very active part of the running community, pieced together the day's events through the eyes of over seventy runners and participants that day, utilizing social media. This is not a story of the bombers at all, their names not even mentioned, but a story about personal determination during the event, as well as the running community's spirit.

This probably isn't really a book for non-runners, as it slowly moves through the different sections of the Boston Marathon, chronicling the runners' progress. There's little technical talk, but we do hear about hurt IT bands, negative splits, and bag checks. There's some attention paid to the elites, Shalane Flanagan popping up a few times. As someone who will never in a million years qualify for Boston I did thoroughly appreciate the organization of the book corresponding to each major part of the race, starting with loading the bus in the morning to, for some, crossing the finish line at the end. 

There isn't a huge chunk devoted to 4:09:43, what the clock read as the first bomb went off. Instead this book pays tribute to the athletes who prepared for this race and fought the hard fight of actually running in it. The exhaustion of running and the triumph of finishing for so many turned into the terror of trying to save one's life. 

There isn't anything groundbreaking in this short text, but it was interesting and a quick read. It definitely made me nostalgic for racing again. I was never fast, but I was consistent and I liked the racing community and just the routine of training. There's something about race day, from waking up early to porta-potty lines to your method of handling water stations. Runners are generally kind, helpful people and the volunteers and crowds are amazing. The fact that someone would come along and cause pain and death is absurd.

As Boston prepares for this year's race in just a few short weeks I'm sure tensions are running high. Boston will never be the same and running it has taken on a new sort of meaning. They'll definitely be in my thoughts. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like something I'd like. The whole thing was so strange. When I first heard (from a text from a friend) that something had happened at Boston, I couldn't really imagine anything like what did happen. Like you, I'm thinking about the families as the anniversary approaches.