I have been writing and re-writing posts in my head ever since the awful tragedies on Monday but have been completely struggling with what to say. Part of me didn’t want to write anything since so much has already been said way better than I could ever say it, but the other part of me knows how therapeutic a simple blog post can be.
And I mean, it’s Boston and it’s running, it just feels so personal. This blog was consumed by Boston Marathon talk for years on end, and to watch something so special and sacred to so many people close to me get tarnished this way, I just can’t make any sense of it and can’t stop thinking about it.
I have always been excited for Marathon Monday, but this year I was excited on a different level. Three of the women I have spent the most miles with this spring were all toeing the line of their first Boston Marathon. It brought back so many memories and I was just so genuinely excited for them.
I got to work at the same time they would start running, because I just really wanted to be there virtually cheering them on for every step of their race. I hit refresh more times than I care to admit and followed them as they made their journeys to Boylston. I imagined what they were feeling as their 40k split would come up and remembered those precious moments of the last mile. Those absolute bittersweet moments, where you just want to finish running but you also never want that scream deafening, goose-bump covered moment to end. Turning left onto Boylston is a moment that will forever be part of me as a runner and I was imagining them getting to experience that emotion. I waited for each one to finish, I texted them all congratulations and felt myself beaming with pride for each one of my amazing, dedicated running partners.
I left my desk, walked to yoga and carried my phone with me for the first time ever because I was texting back and forth with Jess about her race. At the end of yoga class, a short hour later, I came back to the locker room to find my phone erupted in texts from people in all facets of my life. My heart was racing as I tried to figure out what had happened, all I knew was it was something bad. Luckily, I heard back from my friends almost immediately (and all were safe), but I quickly made my way back to my desk where I would be consumed by Boston news all afternoon and pretty much ever since then. It was so insane to me how quickly things had changed from happy and congratulatory to tragic and scary.
As everyone else is, I am confused, angry, sickened, heartbroken and just simply sad.
Of course my heart is broken for all the runners – for those whose amazing accomplishments are now overshadowed by a dark cloud, for those who were not able to cross the finish line, for those who were stopped so close and may never get to experience turning left on Boylston for themselves, and for those who did not get to have the true celebration that any marathon deserves.
But really it aches for those whose family and friends were victims on the sidelines. We all know how much spectators make up our sport, how much more these days mean to us simply because of who was there for us and who supported us along the journey to the start line. There is a lot that has been faded into my memory when it comes to all the race I have done, but one thing I will never forget is who was there each day. I know exactly who has been at each race, I remember the moments of seeing them during the race and I know how much it means as a runner to get that 2 second glimpse of the people you love while pushing yourself. I also know what it’s like to be on the other side, to spend all day waiting for your runner to go by for a split second and getting to see that brightness in their eye. My heart breaks even more when I hear friends who have had their kids tell them to please not run a marathon because of this tragedy because they are afraid of what my happen to their mom or dad or them while watching.
To have that moment, that bonding, that support, that positive inspiration and example, have fear placed into it, is really the part that gets me.
If there is anything positive that has come out of this awful event, it is that I am once again reminded how lucky I am to be a part of such an amazing community – in the runners themselves, the people that they surround themselves with and the people who step up to volunteer and make these events as great as they are. The help, generosity, selflessness and heroism that was shown on April 15th and after, is just a testament that good really does exist in such dark moments.
The running community is a resilient bunch of people. They know how to fight when things get tough and they know how to persevere when so much is standing against them. They are generous and helpful and gracious. They also have generous and helpful and gracious people who support them every day.
Thank you to all the supporters, who day in and day out keep us runners going without even knowing it. Thank you to the runners for continuing to create a community so many of us are so proud to be a part of.
Congratulations to all the runners out there on Monday.
Keep running everyone.