Editor’s Note: When the 124th Boston Marathon was canceled in April, runners were offered a refund or the opportunity to run a ‘virtual’ marathon on a self-designed route between September 7 and 16, finishing within six hours.
Who is motivated to run 26.2 miles? A marathon runner. But, what if you have never run a marathon? Where does that crazy idea originate from that motivates a person to sign up for, train for, and run a marathon? And, for those people who were signed up to run the 2020 marathon, how did they muster up the courage to train not once but twice?
If you’d like to connect with Laurie and Mark or cheer them on, they plan to arrive at Merriam’s Corner a little after 7 am on Monday, during the first leg of their virtual route.
This motivation, in my personal opinion, is worthy of praise, but for the thousands of runners who signed up to run the 2020 Boston Marathon virtually, there will be no glory, there will be no fanfare, and there will not be the same feeling of pride when rounding the corner onto Boylston Street in Boston and crossing the finish line and donning a finisher medal. Running and finishing a marathon alone is just not the same, but if we have learned anything about life in a global pandemic, the only constant is change.
Changing the date to September 14th didn’t stop many runners from continuing their training efforts and fundraising, but when runners were told once again that there would be no in-person running of the marathon, many chose to get their money back but others held onto the hope that the BAA would provide an opportunity to run the race virtually. Two such runners, Laurie Zapalac and Mark Ciepelinski, will be using the trails right here in Bedford and Concord to run their race on Monday, September 7th.