Marathon Monday four years ago, I sat in a yellow school bus looking out a foggy window. Runners in bright rain gear lined up to board for the hour-long ride to the start line. Only a few hours earlier, birds had chirped outside my hotel. Perhaps everything would be fine, even the weather, I thought. But as the sun rose, the skies darkened.

It was April 16, 2018, the 122nd Boston Marathon.

The bus smelled like a musty eighth grade gym class. Runners sat elbow to elbow, dripping ponchos tucked under their legs. Some fidgeted with their bibs. Others tied and retied their shoelaces. I nibbled on a dry bagel, chewing until it was a paste in my mouth.

“Do you know how far it is to the start line?” I asked my seatmate.

“Twenty-six-point-two miles,” he said, grinning.

His humor was lost on me.

It seemed absurd that 30,000 people would run a marathon today in these conditions: near-freezing temperatures, pelting rain and brutal headwinds with gusts up to 50 mph. The worst weather in the event’s history, pundits said.

I trained hard for six months, and now this weather. Would it be all for nothing?

Read the full essay online at REI’s Uncommon Path.

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