Technically it all starts in Hopkinton. Every April, thousands of runners toe the line in this tiny Massachusetts town 26.2 miles away from the marathon's namesake.
But many of us know it starts much earlier than that, much farther away. It starts on a local high school track at five in the morning. It starts on a jagged trail run miles from anywhere. It starts in previous races of all lengths. It starts with sweat and exhaustion, and it starts with determination.
To trace it to its roots is to find that moment when the word first seeps into the mind and begins to percolate. When doubts make way to suggestions of reality, and it begins to fulminate. When it begins to solidify into a goal, worthy of nothing but hard work. That is when it truly starts.
In November of 2010 that goal was met when I became a Boston Qualifier, earning it a place in the top five proudest moments of my life. In February of 2011, the BAA changed the registration process, and in September of the same year, when registration finally rolled around, I was officially shut out of the Boston Marathon. I was crushed.
What people commented on the most in my video about qualifying for Boston, though, was the look of sheer joy on my face as I crossed the finish line. It soon became obvious that to wax mournful on the unfairness of life will only take me so far, and that recreating that look and emotion would be far worthier of my time. Which brings us to...
The fire is relit. More miles will be run, and sacrifices will again be made. It's hard to tell precisely when or where the journey started, but I know where it will end.
My journey to Boston begins anew.