I’m sure by now the majority of you have heard about the tragic events that took place yesterday at the 117th Boston Marathon. It’s scary and terrifying to think that something as innocent as a race could end with such devastating effects.
Had this happened last year or the year before or, well, anytime other than this year I don’t know if I would have felt such a personal loss. I wasn’t at this race, obviously, but people from my social media circle were. I knew racers and spectators. I have friends living in the city and surrounding areas.
But more than that, I am a runner. I am part of this community. Through Twitter and Facebook, I virtually cheer my fellow brothers and sisters on at their races and they do the same for me. We champion each others successes and PRs and commiserate about hilly routes and running in snow. We are a rare breed, runners. We know that many of our family and friends don’t understand why we do what we do. But they don’t have to because we have our other family that does. We may not be related by blood but we share a unique passion and dedication for this sport.
|Today I’m wearing my Next Step Run for Shelter race shirt in support|
Since taking up running and participating in my first race, I have come to love what running brings to my life. I love the network of people I would not have otherwise met. I love the challenges I have faced and overcome. The personal strides I have made. I have also learned the significance of certain races within the running community.
Ask a runner what one race they would love to participate in and I bet many will name Boston. Because the Boston Marathon isn’t like other marathons. You can’t find it on a list of upcoming races and just sign up. You have to qualify. It is also the world’s oldest annual marathon and comes with a well-respected and well-earned reputation.
This is a race people spend a lifetime training for. Each year it brings in tens of thousands of participants from all over the world. Like many races, it is a true celebration of health and life.
And yesterday that was taken away. Not just taken from the people of Boston, but their family and friends, wherever they may live. Taken away from all of us runners who go to our races to have fun and meet personal goals, even if we know we will never qualify. It’s been taken away from runners who are training for that first race and still dreaming of crossing that first finish line. Taken away from the spectators and volunteers who give up their time to support the runners.
It’s been taken away from every person — no matter their speed, no matter their results, no matter if they race or not, no matter if they call themselves a runner or not — who laces up those shoes and goes after it.
I know that right now wounds — both physical and mental — are still raw. People are reeling and trying to navigate 26.2 miles of emotions and what ifs. When left with a gaping hole like this it’s natural to want to find someone to blame. But right now, we still don’t know. We don’t know the person(s) responsible or the motivation. While it might be easy to point fingers, that does nothing to show support for those that have been effected. Because until we know why, all we really know is that this very easily could have happened in any city, at any race. So instead of early judgement and misdirected anger, however justified, I instead urge and ask you to respect the citizens of Boston and marathon participants and fuel your emotions in another way.
Because just like any race is a celebration of health and life, this, too, is an opportunity. And right now, in the immediate aftermath, our focus should be spent celebrating the health of the survivors and the lives of the deceased.
Love from the ashes,