“I really hoped that what
I had accomplished would
change how people looked
at women—and how women
looked at themselves.”
the first time, no longer reining in,
but pushing to keep going. Finally the
hill crests and a view of Boston opens up.
The Prudential Tower is closer than
I thought. Boston College slides by.
Only five miles more to go.
I can run five miles in my sleep, I think.
Such a feeling of elation and success!
Yet the marathon is no place for smugness.
The steep downhill slope rips apart my
legs. The blisters on my feet have burst,
the raw flesh is rubbing on my stiff boys’
running shoes, and running in the heat
has left me seriously dehydrated.
Our ragged bunch of survivors pass into
Boston, while busloads of men who have
dropped out wave and cheer at us. Kenmore Square looms above everything else.
"One more mile!" the crowds chant.
Yet my pace has dropped off. I am barely
moving, tiptoeing along, each step sending
a searing jolt to my brain. My blistered feet
feel as if they are cut through to bone.
The bottoms of my feet are on fire.
This is where I discover the real meaning
of fortitude: to go on, to keep going in the
face of disappointment, to see your hopes
dashed but to keep on any way, to finish
what you set out to do even if it isn’t what
you had hoped. This last mile takes me
longer than the preceding five.
I turn onto the brick canyon of Hereford
Street, where so many people crowd into
the street only a small passage is left.
I turn onto Boylston and suddenly the road
opens up. Thousands of people line the
streets. The press truck rolls along beside
me, flash bulbs, the announcer and police.
I pick up my pace and trot across the finish
line in a time of three hours and twenty
minutes, I’m told, ahead of two-thirds
of the pack. Not bad, I think.
Those who kept my pace congratulate me.
Some kind soul throws a wool blanket
around my shoulders. I’m overcome by a
supreme happiness, having reached the
end of a long journey which I hope will
change the world for the better, and begin
a new journey for our times toward a better
world for all.