Well, I was all ready to pen the final chapter of the “Breakup Song” series, when I heard about the Boston Marathon bombings this afternoon. The fact that I knew several people running today’s race, I couldn’t help but to be glued to the live stream on News 7, listening to the craziness and trying to get updates on my friends via Twitter and Facebook. Thankfully all of my friends were safe and far enough from the finish line before anything happened. That being said, it makes me so sad for the victims, their families, and those runners who had their “race of a lifetime” cut short after all of their hard work training for today.
I know having your life is much more valuable than any marathon achievement or medal, but I know, both as a marathon runner and as a friend to runners who have had their races cut short due to events out of anyone’s control, that it’s really tough to get over not getting to finish. We don’t expect crazy things like bombings to happen at a race. Us runners are pretty peaceful creatures. You may get an accidental shoulder bump or just barely missed a snot rocket, but we’re pretty happy and loving people. Sure you got a few stuck up hot shots, but all-in-all, we stick together and many run to help others! There were guide runners helping blind and visually impaired athletes obtain their running goals that they may have only been able to dream of before. Charity runners, whose sole purpose for running is to help raise funds for organizations. My point being, runners are pretty awesome people. We may talk A LOT about our runs and share stories you really don’t care to listen to, but we’re not normally ones to think something bad would truly happen to us at a race.
So, getting to my point of this post is I never think of anything other than inclement weather or my body not liking me race day making my race suck majorly. We don’t think to look around for suspicious baggage or shady individuals, because we’re all racing, running, enjoying ourselves, going for personal bests. We don’t suspect people of having harmful plans for our lives or the lives of our friends, family members, spectators, volunteers. I usually go into a race with nerves. I don’t know why, don’t ask me, I just do. I get myself all sorts of psyched out, unless I’m just pacing a friend or am just running for the fun of it (yes, I’m aware my non-running friends are scoffing at the fact that one would run for fun). I always have this fear of tripping over something and falling on my face or dream the week before that I’m running as hard and as fast as I can, but cannot gain any distance. It’s strange, but it’s my psychosis that I and I alone must bare. Never, have I ever in my wildest dreams, thought I’d hear about a bomb going off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Watching footage and hearing updates reminded me of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when that pipe bomb went off. You just don’t hear about these things happening much. Add in to account that I knew about a dozen people racing today, and you have one chill fest going though my body today. As mentioned previously, I’m so relieved that all of my peeps were safe and accounted for! However, these events that occurred today make me and other runners wonder how safe these major city marathons are going to be in the future. How will security be tightened? Will this effect race entry fees? How do you explain to your children that you’re not going to get hurt in the marathon YOU’RE running? This former question being one posed to a fellow runner by his 11 year-old daughter who asked him to please stop running marathons, in fear for his life. How do we, as a community get over the looming fear that this could happen again? Do we let the enemy whoever s/he may be, win and defeat our desire to run and to live in fear?
I have more confidence in my fellow runners. We’re a strong community. Proof is in the news of runners finishing their race and continuing on to local hospitals to donate blood for those hurt by the bombings. Also reports of area residents opening their homes to complete strangers who ran today and had nowhere to stay for the night due to the locked down and change in flights, etc. from today. You don’t see that kind of strength in a community very often. People looking for the good from today’s horrific event did not have far to look to see decent people giving of themselves after running a grueling 26.2 mile race. Let me tell you, I may never EVER qualify for the Boston Marathon, nor is that really a goal of mine, but 26.2 miles anywhere is no picnic. I have completed 3 Chicago Marathons and at the end of all three of them, I was a grumpy “Pee Paw” and wanted nothing more than a giant meat and carb-filled meal, a bath, and my bed to pass out in. To think that these people finishing a 4 hour (or faster) marathon were able to run out and start helping is just an amazing feat to me. People of the 117th Boston Marathon, you are truly heroes in my eyes.
So, in closing at, might possibly be my most convoluted blog post I have ever composed, I ask that you not get angry that someone did this to innocent people or dwell on the evil that caused the death of 3 people, including an eight-year-old boy, the amputation of 10+ victims and at least 100 others injured. Let us continue to pray for the victims and their families, and let us rejoice in the fact that we came and continue to come together, as a community, to help families find their racers, to give blood to help save lives, and to open our hearts and homes in the Boston area to give temporary shelter to those displaced by this tragedy.
I have to say Patton Oswalt said it best today, “…So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'” We MUST realize that as much bad there is in this world, there is so much more good that completely drowns it.
A first hand account from Boston Marathon runner and Runner’s World columnist, Peter Sagal – http://www.runnersworld.com/races/peter-sagal-eyewitness-bravery-horror
A blog post on Jezebel, dedicated to our loyal spectators who bore the brunt of the injuries yesterday. Without our Spectators, cheerleaders, supporters, and volunteers, we’d just be a bunch of fools running in mostly silence wondering what the Heck possessed us to run 26.2 miles! – http://jezebel.com/the-people-who-watch-marathons-473405924
One final post on the 10 Touching Acts of Kindness at the Boston Marathon, shared on Mashable – http://mashable.com/2013/04/16/boston-marathon-acts-of-kindness/