There are a lot of things that I do not understand…that I will never understand…
Like everyone, I am devastated about the horrific events that unfolded in Boston yesterday, heartbroken for the families of those lost and praying for those injured to recover.
I guess we all (well, I) have always felt races were our playground, a place where we as athletes celebrate months (or in some cases years) of training and dedication and get the opportunity to spend time with and meet other athletes.
It seems like everyone knows someone running or working the Boston Marathon.
I knew a few people running, a few Boston policemen working the race (Let me interject here that it seemed from afar that Boston law enforcement brought some semblance of order to the chaos fairly quickly and made people as safe as they could as quickly as they could under the circumstances. Thank you guys and gals putting it on the line everyday. I appreciate you.)
I tracked most of my friends down enough to know they were OK.
Except for two. My friend’s Steve and Carole.
Steve is the person who is responsible for this endurance addiction of mine. He is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He was running Boston, I saw he finished in 3:36 (nice work my friend) but I also know he sometimes hangs around the finishline…so I was worried.
I sent texts and messages to him and our mutual friends, we had a lot of nail-biting back and forth. We eventually got word through Facebook that he was OK.
Minutes after finding that out, my cell phone rang. It was him – as soon as I heard his voice tears ran down my face. We talked for almost an hour.
He was (thankfully) on the Green Line (train) when the bombs went off and the train was shut down and everyone was instructed to leave the station. They were not told what had happened (my sense is that law enforcement were still figuring this out), so I picture a bunch of tired runners wandering around wondering what the heck was going on.
Cell phones didn’t work, he had no way to communicate with Carole (who had left ahead of him). He ended up walking 15 blocks to Fenway Park before he was able to take a train and re-unite with Carole. I am sure it was quite the reunion.
I am beyond thankful that my friend is OK, that all my friends are OK. I am so so sorry for those that are not.
The running community shed it’s cloak of innocence yesterday, we are all lying to ourselves if we think this kind of thing isn’t going to be in the back of our mind forever. Like any act of terror, you can’t wipe it from your brain no matter how hard you scrub.
But here’s the thing:
This isn’t going to stop me, or I hope anyone else, from racing. It isn’t going to take the joy from my running or racing, from doing what I do.
Finish lines are the happiest places on earth. They will continue to be.
It is up to all of us to make sure of that.
I hope to be half as brave as the first responders I saw running running toward the smoke to help people when the bomb went off. To be as strong as the runners who finished the race and marched directly to the Red Cross to give blood, or who jumped right in and started helping the victims.
Yes, we have taken a huge blow as a running community, but I think we found out how strong and united we can be. Boston as a race, as a city, has been hit hard by this.
If I know anything about the people of Boston, they will come back stronger and better than ever before (they have a history of toughness – they were the first to give the British the finger and kick off the American Revolution.)
I guess that is all I have to say about that. Except for this:
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- The Red Cross says the best way to help right now is to get in touch with loved ones through its Safe And Well Listings. The organization is not asking for blood donations at this time.
- The Salvation Army is offering food, beverages and crisis counseling to survivors and first responders. Find out how you can get involved here.
- Anyone with info about the incident can call 1-800-494-TIPS.