Celebrating the Human Spirit and Freedom of the Boston Marathon

April 21, 2014 By Uta Pippig
© SeanPavonePhoto/Fotolia.com

Since last April, we lived, we breathed, and we ran with an unwavering belief that good will ultimately be victorious and our freedoms will always prevail. And in just a short time from now, that belief will be realized and celebrated, as our journeys will unite in support of a city and its people who show so much courage, strength, and love.

The memories of last year’s tragic event during “our” marathon will never leave us, but they hopefully have been filtered by tears of joy, peace, and accomplishments. In a matter of seconds, many lives were changed. Over the past year, innocent wounded individuals courageously found new paths in their lives—determined to overcome obstacles and to empower themselves. Their sacrifices and their spirit move our hearts. Now it is up to us to show them how much we treasure their courage, and how we treasure the freedom they believed in and that inspired them.

© www.PhotoRun.net
© www.PhotoRun.net
To some degree, everyone’s freedom did not escape unscathed. It was tested, and at times curtailed, by the events of that day in April. As we return to Boston this year, the whole world will watch to see what kind of response we give.

As I follow the final marathon preparation of my running friends, I can’t wait to experience the joy and happiness—and hope—this marathon day will bring. We all long to feel the crisp spring morning mist against our skin, to hear the thousands of pounding feet running on the rolling hills, to see the endless stream of runners approaching the welcoming CITGO sign, and to drink in the intoxicating energy of the cheering and exuberant New England fans as the Finish Line nears.

And with this extraordinary triumph of the human spirit, together we will move on, no longer held back by the shadows of the past. We will again embrace our innate sense of freedom—and each other.

Uta together with the legendary father-and-son, runner-and-wheelchair duo, Dick and Rick Hoyt. © Mariko Takahashi
Uta together with the legendary father-and-son, runner-and-wheelchair duo, Dick and Rick Hoyt. © Mariko Takahashi
The Boston Marathon unites runners from almost hundred countries. Shoulder to shoulder, they run together in peace bonded by the love for the sport. When I arrived in Boston from East Germany after the Berlin Wall was torn down, I was finally able to realize my own secret dream and run in this wonderful Marathon of Freedom. I was mesmerized and overcome by the unrestricted human spirit I experienced in Boston and all it held out to me.

Liberty, Peace, and Empowerment… For one glorious day, we all will be united under these concepts beneath the beautiful spring sky.

We will witness the underlying force of this marathon as it reveals its inner beauty and strength of kindness, and shows a way to look beyond each other’s differences and embrace a world in which freedom exists for everyone.

Maybe in the not-too-distant future, we can run united in a Marathon of Freedom in every country on this planet.

Uta Pippig (@utapippig) won the Boston Marathon three consecutive times, 1994, 1995, and 1996, and still holds one of the fastest times for the course. She dedicates her time to helping others via the Take The Magic Step Foundation (www.TakeTheMagicStep.com) and her “Running To Freedom” speaking series.

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