While it was no 2018, it was another rainy day on the course at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Still, spirits were high despite the soggy weather as the race took another important step toward healing, 10 years since the marathon bombing.
About 30,000 athletes from all over the world took part in the race this year. Among them was Kate Matheson, who traveled from England to take part in the Boston Marathon for the first time.
Matheson, 46, picked up running while living in Virginia and got caught up in the hype for Boston there. It took Matheson eight marathons to run under four hours and another four races to qualify for Boston.
“It’s probably going to be the only time I run Boston because flying over the Atlantic to do this in a climate crisis is slightly irresponsible, perhaps,” Matheson said. “But, yeah, I’m just going to make the most of the opportunity and just be really grateful that we get to do this.”
If there was one big theme of this year’s marathon, it was moving forward. The Boston Athletic Association and the city had special observances on Saturday, the 10th anniversary of the bombing, to honor those who were injured and killed in the attack. Race and city officials unveiled a special marker commemorating the event just past the finish line.
Sean Hicks ran Boston in 2013 and ran again this year, marking his eighth time on the course. He believes the city’s resilience after the bombing helped make the marathon grow.
“You can even see it even 10 years later today, coming back, you just feel that energy and so many more people are invested and understand and know about it, right?” Hicks told GBH News Sunday. “People that weren’t runners, you know, didn’t pay any attention to the Boston Marathon, now know what it means when you say ‘Boston Strong.’”
On Monday, the city hummed with excitement as spectators watched some of the world’s best athletes compete on its streets.
There was a lot of buzz around Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, who is hailed as the world’s best marathon runner and was competing in Boston for the first time. But it was his fellow countryman, Evans Chebet who took first, becoming the first men’s runner to repeat as champion on Boylston Street since Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot capped off a three-peat in 2008.
On the women’s side, Hellen Obiri won in just the second marathon of her career to cap off an exciting professional field.
Emma Bates was the top American woman, coming in fifth place. She had previously been a part of the BAA’s High Performance Team, which offers training support to its runners.
She was familiar with Boston, but she never envisioned a finish like the one she had.
“I didn’t really see a future in my running career to be at this level,” she said. “So, to be not only top American, but top in the Boston Marathon is something I’m gonna hold close to my heart for a long time.”
A decade after two bombs went off near the finish line and three years after COVID-19 stopped the race in its tracks, the Boston Marathon was as strong as it’s ever been on Monday. And, if all goes according to plan, that strength will only grow as the city continues on its path forward.