Despite hurricane-like winds and torrential downpours, Stephen Rathbun, native New Yorker, avid runner and Key Account Representative here at Rockport took on the Boston Marathon this year in our DresSports shoes, one of the first dress shoes to be infused with sport technology. Read on as he reflects on his experience and, in case you missed it, be sure to check out his previous posts chronicling his progress toward the big day here, here and here.
The Boston Marathon
in 2018 changed me. This one race altered the way I think and feel about, and characterize the sport of running. With something being so integral to my life, it is natural as its definition evolves that I evolve with it. The more I run and the more I race, the sport of running perpetually changes its place and meaning in my life.
Okay, I’m about to get very corny here, so prepare yourselves as I share my new feelings about the sport.
The beauty and teachings of running lie in the pursuit
of excellence, not in the achievement of it. Finishing the Boston Marathon, I was hypothermic and exhausted, but above all else I was beaten down emotionally. I put countless hours into the pursuit of a legendary race where I would blow the Dress Shoe Marathon World Record out of the park (Fenway to be exact). I couldn’t comprehend how the race went south so quick, around mile 14. I was forced to walk frequently the last 6 miles of the race, when just a few months earlier I jogged a 2:48 Marathon. How could I have missed the mark of achieving excellence so poorly?
When my girlfriend ran up to hug me in a warm embrace, there was a glimmer of something special. Then my parents were soon to follow; the glimmer became stronger. As we made our way to the Rockport after-party, and I was greeted by the Rockport family I have grown to care for so deeply, the room became bright despite the dreary conditions outside. Then my great friends from Garden State Track Club showed up, and the restaurant transformed into a sun-filled room. I stood there and looked around and was overtaken by incredible warmth and joy. Every one of these people had a part in my preparation for this grueling race. They were just as happy to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing the marathon in dreadful conditions as they were if I had run my goal time of 2:35.
Rockport staffers cheered Stephen on from different miles along the route.
Larger-than-life cutouts of Stephen were waiting for him - along with family, friends and his Rockport crew - at the after-party at a local Boston restaurant.
This sport, and maybe it speaks to an overarching life notion, is less about achieving a goal, but how you pursue that same goal. The tenacity and commitment given to a training cycle is character-defining. How I prepare for a race is more definitive of who I am than the execution on race day. Maybe, I feel this way because my race didn't go to plan. However, as I sat there in that warm and happy restaurant after the Boston Marathon, I realized these special people were not celebrating a time, they were rejoicing in an achievement of commitment...of determination…of a willingness to push the limits. Not just for me but for all 40,000+ runners out there who braved the weather this past Monday; for all of those who came before us in Rockport and those who will come after. All of us, in our own way, are looking to leave an imprint on our community. The question becomes: how will your character be defined in your pursuit of that imprint?