On a recent cold and rainy day, Memorial Drive counselor Tiffany Warren proved she could run the distance by completing the Boston Marathon. Here, in her own words, Mrs. Warren reflects on the momentous event:
"How many times did I review the mental checklist before the 5 a.m. wake up? Now, my thoughts were still, much like the eye of a tornado must feel — first thing, my devotional. “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity.” Today was the day…the usual, banana, bagel coated with peanut butter, coffee. What about clothes… clothing would be a dilemma. Wind, rain, freezing temperatures, I had experienced all of these, just not ALL at one time. After all, South Georgia embodies heat and humidity, right?
But today wasn’t any marathon and we weren’t in South Georgia. This was the Boston Marathon. The champion of all races, it is like Indianapolis is to NASCAR racing and the Masters is to Golf. Still, this dame of a foot race has been pitting the best runners against each other for 122 years. Yet, on this Marathon Monday, Mother Nature was being particularly unkind. With temperatures barely above freezing, and the 40 mph wind and hammering rain adding to the discomfort, the 30,000 of the runners faced a much more daunting task than covering the 26.2 miles. You do what you have trained to do, you toe that line and RUN the BOSTON Marathon!
Right away, a sole mate came my way, Briana from Indiana. As kindred spirits, we vowed to help each other secure a dry spot under a tent and coat our faces with Vasoline. Upon arriving at the Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, what we faced was more like a medieval battlefield scene! The athletic fields had turned into ankle deep mud under the weight of thousands of runners. As it was a struggle to find shelter under tents, it led some to crawl under parked vehicles in a parking lot in an effort to get out of the weather. But my new Hoosier comrade and I managed to keep the spirit of support alive for us both and for others. For us, the spirit of Boston was palpable in every direction. That sense of seizing every opportunity to care and share with others. Here, withstanding daunting conditions, a bond greater than running was formed. And who knows what Boston 2019 will bring?
To run the Boston Marathon is like being on parade for 26.2 miles. The exceptionality of this race is the spectators. Spectators take this as seriously as the runners. Only this year, you didn’t have the smell of outdoor grilling, children saying “hand please.” On this Patriot’s Day, the show of force was still seen in the streets, from porches, and windows and cheering words of encouragement. 500,000 strong lined the streets in Ashland, Framingham, Natick and Wellesley. It would seem the crowds were thicker and more enthusiastic than they should be. But this was Boston. They stood rain trodden, with a sea of umbrellas inside out and too many to count, with signs reading, “This weather is tough, but you are tougher.” Understandably, this race could not have been sustainable without the 1700 medical volunteers, 3500 security personnel, and 9500 volunteers. What an incredible sight to see the volunteers hovering over cups of water and Gatorade to secure them for those making the trek!
“Many times I felt like a kid playing in the rain, and really just tried to live in that mile and in the moment. Each step laced with solitude.” The miles passed quickly, but still it was a grind with the head wind and rain spewing like gravel on my face. All that was left was to focus downward. At one point, my hands weren’t acting like hands at all. My gummies and chews were hardened from the cold. The wind was so intense you felt as though you were standing still. But I knew runners, like all faithful, have their pilgrimage. This was mine. I knew that struggle sparks strength, the more training, the more effortlessly the miles would tumble from my legs.
I remember seeing the Citgo sign on Beacon Street. I knew it was right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. There I would find this journey’s end. I started crying. Crying happy tears, this was it. I was headed into the majestic finish line. Following the blue line, and spotting my sweet husband, Daniel, about a quarter of a mile from the finish line. He provided his infamous wink and a roaring cheer. Hands up and crying, I had conquered the 122nd Boston Marathon under the worst conditions, finishing strong and smiling. Never was there a point that I wanted to quit. I knew I would finish and make the most out of each mile. “That is what is great about a marathon. It is so much like life. You are not sure what you are going to get on that day, but you show up, do your best, give it your all.” So yes, it is wonderful to achieve your goals. More importantly, it is what you become by achieving them. So see you next year, Boston!"
Mrs. Warren’s overall time was 3:23:10, which was a 7:45 pace, placing overall 6,082 out of 29, 978. Approximately 1200 runners did not finish the race. We are so proud to call her own! Way to go, Mrs. Warren!