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瀧波雅彦の日記

Boston Marathon 2006 

Boston Marathon 2006 

あそう先生がなくなった

仲間と写真を持って走った。

Boston Marathon 2006
The Red Snakes from Kaji Aso Studio

This year was most difficult for the members of Kaji Aso Studio and the Red Snake running team with the passing away of the most honorable Mr. Kaji Aso. We had not been training for the Boston Marathon as we usually do, but only hoping for the good health and life of Mr. Aso.

After Mr. Aso passed away on March 11th, one member Mr. Masahiko Takinami, brought up the idea that the Red Snake running team walk the Boston Marathon and carry a photo of Mr. Aso, staying together the whole way. Everyone nodded in agreement and as the Boston Marathon approached we began to prepare.

We found a wonderful photo of Mr. Aso taken at the Boston Marathon finish line and made it larger to carry with us. We felt nervous as we drove to Hopkinton where the Boston Marathon race begins. Even walking the 26.2 miles is not an easy feat, especially without training.

We stopped by to say hello to Meg and Jack Speranza,, who generously host the Red Snakes every year before the race (a tradition started by Kit and Gerry MacNabb). Then with a Red Snake cheer we were off to the starting line. We deceided that we would take turns carrying the photo of Mr. Aso and Gary Tucker carried it first.

At the start of the race there were six Red Snakes (Gary Tucker, Masahiko Takinami, Siamak Samiean, Kate Finnegan, Jane Kim, Nanji Davison). Also, Martha Akagi who drove us to the starting line walked with us for a while.

Since Mr. Aso passed away we are very aware of the world around us. We feel lonely and searching. The amazing thing is that we keep feeling him all around us. Little signs as if he is communicating with us, saying “I am here” and cheering us on. For instance, on the short walk to the starting line one small truck was passing out free coffee. We had never noticed this truck before in any other race. They passed out a small cup of strong espresso type coffee, the kind that Mr. Aso loved. We all wanted some right before our long walk and it was perfect.

Suddenly we started noticing other things that were perfect. Walking on the course, it was a most incredible New England day. I have run 24 marathons with Mr. Aso and never have I seen such glorious weather. The sun was peeking in and out from puffy white clouds, just the right balance of cool and warm. The landscape around us was glowing with the energy of the peak of spring. This spring is unusual because it came a little early to New England. Every tree and flower was blooming or just about to burst into bloom. This marathon was really the peak of Spring as never before. The course was woven with forsythias, tulips, daffodils, magnolia trees, cherry trees, and especially weeping cherry trees. We had never noticed so many weeping cherry trees before. These trees gently reflected the inside of our weeping hearts for Mr. Aso. As we walked the singing of birds mixed into the cheering of the crowd and then birds again.

Walking the race makes you much more hungry then running and one member, Jane Kim, began thinking hard about food. Along the way people in the crowd pass out oranges and water, but suddenly there was a man holding a plate out with a hamburger and a hot dog. We looked in disbelief and said “Is it all right to take this?” and he said, “Yes, yes, this is for you.” It was delicious and we shared it amongst us.

We continued walking as the day became an even more glorious sunny spring afternoon. We could feel Mr. Aso as if he was flying just above us, watching over us. I looked up to see a mourning dove flying in the blue, blue sky circling in the air above us.

As we got closer to Newton and the famous Heartbreak Hill our spirits lifted because there were three Red Snakes waiting there to meet us. Katie Sloss (the famous “Mrs. Newton”), Kate Peterson and
Ingrid Hansen. They were full of fresh energy and smiles which was contagious as they joined us for the last third of the Boston Marathon.

All through the famous hills the weather was lovely even though our bodies ached and were tired. We pushed onward counting the miles down to our goal. As we turned the corner onto Beacon Street with four miles to go, soft clouds began to fill the sky. The sun was lower and a cool wind was blowing. We became more determined and dedicated as we walked with Mr. Aso’s photo.

Now entering the heart of Boston, weeping cherry trees peeked out between the brick buildings. Dedicated spectators cheered us on. We looked forward in our hearts to the beautiful Magnolia trees that line Commonwealth Avenue less then one mile to the finish.

Then we were there, turning the last two corners onto the final stretch of Beacon Street. In the distance blocks away we could see the finish line and the bright red color of the famous Red Snake banner. A very soft and gentle rain was falling now- almost imperceptible.

I was reminded of last year’s Boston Marathon which was Mr. Aso’s 38th marathon (he ran his first race in 1969). It was a very hard marathon for Mr. Aso because he had such a busy schedule and had flown back from giving concerts and lectures in Japan just before the Marathon. Because of his traveling back and forth he had not been able to train as much. Also he was recovering from the high cedar pollen count in Japan last year. He was not sure that he could really finish last year, but he did with his strong will and determination. When he crossed the finish line it was the only time I had seen actual tears come from his eyes, almost imperceptible, just like the rain that now gently fell on us.

Now tears fell from our eyes too as we finished this Boston Marathon without Mr. Aso actually running just in front of us, but running in our hearts and still always running with us forever.

We crossed the finish line at 7pm (9 hours from when we began walking at 10am), and more Red Snakes greeted us including Mary Ellen Gardner, Toshio Abiko, and Sean Fennessey. We caught our breath and then helped them hand out the famous Red Snake Congratulatory Certificate to the runners still coming in as the sun went down beyond Boston.

Back at Kaji Aso Studio, Patricia and Wes Stimpson prepared a feast of beef stroganoff and chicken cacciatore. When we returned we placed Mr. Aso’s photo in the seat of honor. Then we raised our glasses of cold beer high and said Mr. Aso’s famous Boston Marathon toast, “Happy Spring!”

“Happy Spring Aso-sensei, and thank you!”


- Kate Finnegan- April 18, 2006




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