I was born and grew up in Newton. The Boston
Marathon has been part of my life as long as I can remember. The
only marathons I havent watched were when I lived out of state.
My family had friends who lived on Commonwealth Avenue about half
way up Heartbreak Hill. We would go there every year
and prepare orange slices and cups of water at a little stand that
we created. There were no official water stops then.
I loved watching the men, there were only men then, as they sweated
and pulled themselves up that long, long hill - knowing that they
would be able to finish the race if they could manage this tough
climb. When I grew up, I became a runner, having always been an
athlete. I didnt do the Boston Marathon, just the Bonnie Belle,
but I ran all year round and loved the exhilaration that it elicited.
After watching the 1991 Marathon, I started thinking
about what a sculpture might be like for the Boston Marathon, the
oldest foot race in the United States. I wanted to create a sculpture
that would be attractive to children, yet be a meaningful metaphor
for the race. I knew the marathon was based on a Greek warrior who
in 490 B.C. ran approximately 25 miles to announce the news of a
great military victory. The Greek connection of using another kind
of race, that of the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare created
by Aesop ( ?620- 560 B.C.) came to mind. I couldnt show a
man running, or a woman, or a person in a wheelchair. It would be
impossible to portray all the people from all over the world who
run. The tortoise and the hare seemed a perfect metaphor to represent
the wide variety of people who participate in the marathon - people
of all ages, shapes and sizes, many of whom finish, but walk over
the finish line.
Some of the marathon runners I know run just to
finish, they dont expect to win, they are challenged and want
to have that wonderful sense of accomplishment. Persistence pays
off. Slow and steady wins the race. They want to be a part of one
of the most important sports event in the country. 1996 was the
100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon. I wanted to do something
to commemorate that event.
I hope that children will cherish these animals
- pat them, hug them and learn the important lesson that the fable
teaches. After all, children are our future and they are the runners
and citizens of tomorrow.
The Friends of Copley Square have sponsored this
sculpture and they believed the fable was an ideal coupling of it
and the Boston Marathon. The sculpture brings a needed human factor
which is significant to the neighborhood and its children.