Boston, I am With You
I saw the news on Roni Noone’s Facebook feed. No words, just a link to a headline that made no sense: “Explosions at Boston Marathon finish line.”
I skipped by them, honestly at first. But somehow, my brain kept processing those words as I scrolled down my feed, and then I went back to them. I was on the phone with a friend at the time. She’s from Boston.
I started reading the news to her. “Two explosions, minutes apart, life threatening injuries…” reading the news aloud to someone else made it more real and yet more surreal all at once. “Let me go watch the news,” she said quickly and we both hung up.
The whole world is looking at this….attack? tragedy? awful event?…..and feeling the horror of it, certainly. But I felt this a little differently. Somehow, for the first time, I felt it as a….runner.
As a runner, my first thoughts after the prayers I sent out for the injured and lost, were of the people who had trained so hard for so long, who didn’t get to finish the race of a lifetime. My thoughts were of those people just crossing or nearly crossing the finish line and having that moment of triumph taken from them. My thoughts were for the one person I knew personally and the several I knew through the blogosphere, hoping and praying that they and their families and friends were alright.
I felt it all very differently than I would have eighteen months ago, before I started running. Running is all about acceptance, community, betterment of self. It’s competitive but equalizing all at the same time. Out there on the road, we all will start and we will all do our best to finish. We will all push ourselves. We all understand the certain level of crazy it takes to run for thirty minutes, an hour, three hours or more all by yourself. To achieve something. Something personal. Something amazing.
Every race I’ve run raises money for a charitable cause. I’ve run for cancer research, for buy diapers for low income families, to buy heat for people who can’t afford it, for the local police toy drive, for the VA hospital, for the Y’s after school programs, and of course for Sandy Hook. Runners run for themselves, but often they are also doing so in races for a larger good. Each mile of this race, the Boston Marathon, was dedicated to a victim of the Newtown tragedy. There was a team from Newtown running, and more spectators from there as well. To attack those who are doing something good, trying to heal a wound….it makes no sense.
Of course something like this makes no sense. They never do (even writing that, as if this kind of thing is becoming normal, is so wrong on so many levels). But somehow, seeing this now as a runner, I feel it a bit more personally. Knowing what pounding out those miles is like (I’ve never run that kind of distance, but I have an idea). Right at the moment of triumph, of completion. And not when the fast people would have been coming through. When the people who aren’t the elite are starting to come through (me, I would have been a good hour out, but still), the regular folks, the folks who never thought they could do something like this and are finally achieving that moment.
The person I know who ran yesterday is fine. The people I follow in the blogosphere are OK too. But for those who this morning are struggling with a senseless loss of life, or limb, or whatever other injury may have happened yesterday, my heart is bursting for you. I am a runner, and I am with you.