Some like it hot, but not so many...most prefer it cool,
With breezes to refresh their bobbing brows, and, as a rule,
They also like it cloudy, even rain is sometimes fine, as, thousands strong,
or weak, or somewhere in between they mine
The depths of their determination, in this oldest race,
As runners or as walkers or as wheelers at a pace
That they maintain or fall off or abandon in the hills...
In this long test of stamina, of training, and of wills.
There is so much to like about this old, mid-April trot:
The leaders gliding effortlessly, bunched and patient, not
The least bit prone to panic or to any wasted motion...
Each lonely in this little knot, intense in his devotion
To plans he's made to cut the distance into little blocks
Of energy expended, of endurable, small shocks.
And at the finish some of these machines of slender grace
Will look as fresh as they did when they first stepped up to race.
Behind them, well behind them, are the clowns made up to dance...
The guy in the giraffe suit, superman in his bright pants,
The folks in home-made shirts with greetings "Hi, Dad," or "Hi, Mom."
The ones with politics in mind: "No War" "Make Peace, Not Bombs."
Those running just in part to see if they can last the distance,
But also to help children who, in need of their assistance,
Can't run right now, but will at some point out beyond this day,
At least if runners raising money have a thing to say
About it. But the real appeal of this festive event
Is in its continuity, dependable as rent.
It draws to Boston every April not just the elite,
But thousands of the nameless who, on blistered, aching feet,
Endure each stride and then another where so many ran...
It would be nuts to say just why, except "because they can."
Enough. I've time for no more, if I stay I might be late.
I'm off to find my spot to watch the limping, and the great.
This program aired on April 21, 2003. The audio for this program is not available.