Runners are a giant, international family. I know this sounds silly to someone who may not be a runner, but it’s true. Not only are we a big family, this is an incredibly supportive community. Spend 5 minutes on Daily Mile and you’ll see what I mean.
The bombs on Marathon Monday rocked our runner family. I have just a few thoughts I need to get out:
• With 27,000+ runners, thousands of spectators and all the race staff, this attack had the potential to shatter many many more lives. Reports have speculated that the size of the bombs could have packed a lot more explosive power. Thank God this tragedy was not any worse.
• Events like this happen are common occurrences around the world – and at equally innocent activities. It’s terrible; it’s evil; it’s hard to imagine living with this level of fear day in and day out. I hope one of the things we take from this attack is to appreciate, mourn with and take what action we can for the families and communities who face this kind of evil daily.
• As is so often the case, the worst in a few people brings out the best in a lot of people. The event staff, volunteers, runners, spectators, National Guard, police, fire fighters, medical personnel… to everyone who helped and protected fellow human beings, you are the reason I still have hope after senseless acts like this. So much in this world is horrible and messed up, but so much more is good and powerful and true.
It’s safe to say this is really shitty week. With a family member passing early Monday morning, the funeral this weekend and now the grief I feel after the bombings added to the mix, I’m drained. Yesterday I wore a race shirt to work and ran 4.09 miles in honor of the Boston Marathon victims. It was cold and wet, but those were the most cathartic – and fastest! – 4 miles I have ever run.
I started feeling angry and I fully expected to use that anger and sadness to fuel my run. But you know what? Right after the 1 mile mark, I hit some sort of runner’s high. I couldn’t stop smiling, I was greeting and encouraging the runners and walkers I passed at the park… I was happy.
And then I felt guilty. Such a terrible thing has happened, I shouldn’t feel happy. So many marathoners and Boston residents don’t feel happy today, why should I? And then I thought, that’s what this sport is all about. It’s about doing something we love, it’s about community, it’s about support, and if I could just bottle up the joy I felt on that run and send it to the victims in Boston’s hospitals, you better believe it would be in the mail already.
I saw a tweet yesterday that said “The best thing we can do right now as #runners is keep #running strong and proud.” And that’s what I did.
This week, our #RunnerFamily is standing strong. This week, Boston is standing strong. This week, myself, Jon and our family are standing strong. And if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that the Boston Marathon will be back in full force this time next year, and the entire running family will be cheering louder than ever.
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