The horror at the Boston Marathon yesterday impacted me even more today somehow. I think I was just in such a state of general shock that the reality of what happened hadn’t completely sunk in.
The reality of what happened has the possibility of changing us, of changing running, of changing races and thereby changing our way of life.
But it cannot…
I am not generally a particularly emotional guy but I found myself fighting back tears today because of the thoughts that went through my head over what had happened.
Everyone of us knows that (for 99.99% of us) running doesn’t bring us money or fame, but a sense of accomplishment.. of camaraderie.. of becoming more than ourselves.. of peace… of connection to ourselves and to the world.. of the value of hard work.. and of triumph (which most of us don’t get enough of in our lives).
Running allows us to reset, get stronger and become healthier.
Running also takes from us. It forces us to recover when we have to and sometimes hurts us and forces us to heal.
Running forces us to prioritize and it generally makes us more empathetic people because we know of struggle.. and we also know of the beauty of overcoming struggle.
Running and racing is so many things to so many people and so many who try it are literally hooked for life because it gives back so much to them.
We all remember completing our first mile without stopping, our first 5K, our first Half Marathon, our first Marathon…. There is nothing like the feeling because we knew how hard we hard to work to get to the starting line and how hard we hard to work to finish. It made us stronger and strengthened our souls and emboldened us because we did something very hard that we didn’t know we could do. It is a great feeling, but for me…
The feeling of working with someone else to get them to their running goals and see them accomplish them is even better. I have been lucky to work with many runners over the last few years and the joy I have received from watching them do something amazing (whatever the distance) has always been even more wonderful than what I feel from my own races. It is a beauty and a grace that no one or thing can take for them. They lived the training and did the race. They are beautiful.
The family members and friends that have supported us as we train… that put up with our early mornings and long weekends… that are there for us outside the fencing of the race cheering us on (usually enjoying themselves more than they expect) or ready to give us water and food as we approach them for another loop on the trail… these loving spirits are just as big of a part of running and racing as we the runners are.
And all of us took a lance to the heart yesterday….
I literally can’t stop thinking about all of the various scenarios yesterday.. the first time Boston Qualifier who trained their heart out to do as well as they could, the veteran who continues to come back to Boston as a celebration of life and of living, the families and friends that spent the time, effort and money to go and cheer on their runner and be a part of an amazing and innocent celebration…
Everyone of us was affected by yesterday, but far too many were hurt or lost.
The bombs were indiscriminate and those who planted them cared not for who was in their path.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tragedy in Boston on April 15th, 2013 and there are so many. In time, may your hearts heal and your life find beauty again.
But at the same time, my congratulations go out to all of the runners that finished and those that weren’t able to. I have never been good enough to get to Boston but your accomplishments were not diminished by the tragedy.. you raced for your own honorable reasons and nothing can take that away.
But the thing that I really want to write is this….
We must not hesitate.. not even for a second.
We honor those affected by this tragedy by continuing on.. by not allowing these despicable cowards to stop us for even one second.
We must not hesitate to go out for our daily runs…
We must not hesitate to sign up and race….
Wherever and whenever we want to race…
If our race fees must go up in price for security we will pay it…
Our race directors must continue to put on their races if at all possible and not be afraid…
We must not hesitate… not even for a second…
Because if we do then they have won something and they cannot.
We must run….for them and for us..
We must run.