Monday, April 19, 2010

Wings on Their Feet and Victory in Their Hearts

Today's photos are shared with you not because of their stunning quality, their sharpness, their composition, or prize-winning potential. Clearly, they lack all of that, but I put these types of photos in a category all their own. These are the kinds of photos your great-grandma or five year old niece took...the kind that are over-and-underexposed, blurry, and unintentionally show more of the sky than the people mugging for the shot. These are the kinds of photos that endure and are cherished because of the story behind them. We all have them. And because the stories and the memories themselves transcend the amateur images that illustrate them, we share them.

During my college years, I lived in the great city of Boston. I admired it for all it had to offer: the arts, history, diversity of people and foods, world-class everything. Although I live far from Boston today, I look back on those years and sift through the memories, and a favorite always stands out...Patriots Day and the running of the Boston Marathon. Today was that day for the 114th time in Beantown!

The route of the Boston Marathon snaked it's way through my Back Bay neighborhood. I stood on the sidelines cheering the weary runners on, as they toiled through the last leg of their journey. My house stood alongside one of the very last miles of the race, and so I watched the raw determination of blistered, bleeding, sweating, delirious athletes making their way to the finish line. Above is the men's 2003 winner, Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, as he flew past me on his way to victory.

Above is Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, the women's 2003 winner. At the moment I captured her, she was literally flying. Both feet off the ground. Her shadow racing to catch up. Honing in on the win.

And with more guts, talent, athleticism, and determination than I'll ever have, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa lowers his head, grasps the spinning tires of his wheelchair and zooms toward triumph.

The sun sank lower in the sky, its rays bouncing off the Hancock building and the Prudential. Fenway Park sat calmly and stoically in the near distance as hundreds of feet pounded over the bridge into Kenmore Square. I am so thankful to have these photos, blurriness and all, because they remind me that a moment in history was captured and displayed in my dusty college photo album, and that, in a city brimming with legacy, I was there to experience history in the making.


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