This last weekend I hit a milestone. I have ran more than 3,000 miles in the last (almost) four years. 3,000 miles! I know! That’s like running coast to coast. I blame Kristen, Bill and Kari…especially Kari! Just kidding! Actually I am quite grateful to all of them for the friendship, the inspiration, the support and the whining…them putting up with MY whining. We have logged many miles together and apart but we were always connected and remain so. Running with them virtually and together broadened my circle of friends with Stephanie, Erica, Liz, Beth, Christina, Christine, Kale and so many more awesome people I’m sure I’m forgetting…go ahead and yell at me for forgetting, mmm-kay? But the circle grew even larger as I connected with local folks running like crazy…Linda, Row, Mac, Mike, Erika and Layla. I even reconnected with a high school classmate who I now count as a very, very dear friend thanks to running. Miles and miles of running together and not together connects us all in a way that one can not imagine unless they too are running. Perhaps it’s all those happy, happy endorphins…or maybe we are just a little bit crazy like non-running folk pronounce us to be. Who knows? But we are a close knit community. When one falls or is injured or must stop running we feel their pain and frustration. When one of us PRs we celebrate their amazing feat. We are a close-knit family thanks to all the miles we have all covered.
So when the bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon we were pained. No, we were struck down, maimed even. Many of us knew people running in Boston…and were following their run in a creepy-cool kind of way thanks to social media and electronic timing chips and we immediately checked to see where were they on the course. We then checked on our running friends who live in Boston but were not running. Sure, Boston is big city but Patriots’ Day and the Boston Marathon are a big, fat deal in their hometown. It’s a day to play and to celebrate. A huge sigh of relief was breathed knowing everyone we knew was okay. Still we felt the pain being broadcast for hours on end on Monday. Once again our country was attacked on a beautiful day by clearly someone or someones who truly have nothing but hate, mayhem and destruction on their agenda. The loss of life was nothing like 9-11…THANK GOD! Still, a life is a life and we can’t help but feel pain for the families of those three beautiful souls. As runners, we looked to who ended up being the victims that day…runners thisclose to the finish line, spectators cheering them on and looking for their own people to cross. Many of these innocents were family of runners- parents, husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, some were likely to be runners too, runners who just crossed the finish line and looking back for a friend who was still on the course somewhere or runners who were not running that day but were there to cheer on other runners…because we runners like to do that when we can’t run. And some were just people, random strangers there to cheer on these crazy running people…perhaps at the request of a friend 3,000 miles away from the finish line. They were all joined in the community of running, celebrating, enjoying a beautiful day together. And in an instant it was all blown up…literally. So many were injured, horribly disfigured for god only knows what evil reason. And the running community grieved perhaps as much as Boston has been. Our family was viciously attacked. How could we not grieve?
You see, the thing about us runners is that we are runners. We might not have qualified this year. We may have qualified but did not run. We may have been injured and unable to go. We may have never qualified (and given my granny pace, likely never will). But we are runners and Monday and every day since Monday, our hearts have been in Boston.
And since Monday, this family whom I belong to has united even more tightly. We are determined to reach out and love Boston, to share, to help, to give, to show our solidarity wearing our tech shirts from races past all week long and to run and keep on running…running more and more miles…all for Boston. And as we run, we are healing because those endorphins are epic stuff, yo!
The logistics of races will likely never be the same thanks to the evil that tried to destroy the Boston Marathon, but race we will continue to do. More miles. You just can not stop us from running more miles.
Just as President Obama predicted today I know for sure that “this time next year on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.
Bet on it.”