I am not a runner and never have been.
I can’t profess to know anything about the sport or the practice of running. But, the Boston Marathon is an event and it just so happened that my uncle had a house that sat alongside a part of the route in Newton.
Every year he and my aunt would throw a Marathon party on Patriots Day and we would all head out with drinks and food in hand and sit on the garden wall and cheer as the runners made their way towards Copley Square and the finish line.
It has been many years since I last lived in Boston but on occasion I will still turn on the TV and watch the Marathon as the cameras follow the lead runners down Boylston Street and across the finish line, which as you remember was the site of the tragic act of terrorism five years ago.
So, this past Monday I turned on the television and witnessed a race that was being run in the worst of Boston Spring weather. There was torrential rain with wind and a temperature of somewhere in the high 30s.
Now according to the commentators there were favorites to win this year’s race. These were the runners that they continually identified with some concern as they were well back in “the pack.” The front runners were unexpected: Desiree Linden and Yuki Kawauchi were not supposed to win. And yet there they were, collecting the victors’ garlands.
I couldn’t help but consider that had the conditions been better – say sunny and twenty degrees warmer – would these two be in the lead or even have a chance of victory.
Perhaps they were in the lead in this race because the conditions favored their strength and personalities. If the weather were more spring-like perhaps their strengths would not have played as well. Other conditions apparently would have favored other runners.
While the analogy is not exact because running a marathon strikes me as a uniquely solo conquest, the weather conditions this year gave me cause to consider the benefit of being on a team.
That is, there are some conditions in which one member of the team can thrive while others are not at their strongest. As conditions change, another member of a team can come to the fore with the strength and skill to answer the challenge while other members can allow the strength and skill of their teammate to address the challenge.
As mentors to the foster community we are aware that conditions can shift, sometimes without warning.
The encouragement of The Boston Marathon is that if the conditions are wet and rainy there is one of our team who can run strong. But if it is hot and sunny that teammate will need to defer to the other who has the stamina for heat and sun.