I was originally set to post my Warrior Dash race recap, but it didn’t seem right to blog about a frivolous mud run from last July without acknowledging what happened yesterday. Bitten by Boston Marathon fever, I’ve been following the race for a while now (to the point where I wanted to take the day off work to watch it at home yesterday. Dan made fun of me for that). I was completely heartbroken when I heard about the explosions.
Yesterday morning I listened to the Boston Marathon live online from work. I was cheering for Shalane Flanagan and absolutely mesmerized to hear live coverage from the almost mythical course. At the 15 mile mark Canadian Robin Watson was leading the men’s elite, and though we knew it wouldn’t last, I couldn’t help but revel in his accomplishment (as both a fellow Canadian and a runner). I’m 99% sure that I will be running my first marathon this fall, and even though I’m not fast (in fact I’m the opposite of fast, I’m really really slow!), I can’t help but fantasize, like most runners do, about somehow running a marathon in under 3:35 and qualifying for Boston.
Fast forward to the afternoon. The elites had crossed the finish line and I had stopped thinking about Boston. A little after 3 p.m. Dan emailed me letting me know that there had been an explosion near the finish line, and sent me a link to a picture. I was stunned. The picture was horrific and I can only imagine the fear the runners, spectators, volunteers and anybody in the vicinity must have felt when the explosions hit. My heart goes out to those who were affected by the bombing.
Why would anybody do this? The Boston Marathon is an event with participants from around the world. Having participated in several races, I know the feeling of goodwill that you get as a runner or a spectator. Strangers cheer for strangers. You feel inspiration from so many around you. Everybody is working towards the same end goal (to cross the finish line). Running almost feels like a great equalizer for me. Where else can you participate in a mass sport where some people are competing to win while other people are just trying to finish, all in the same event?
Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to compete in Boston (who was infamously photographed as the race director tried to remove her race bib and kick her off the course), once said “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” In hearing about the bombs that were made with the intention of killing and injuring the most people possible, my faith in human nature wavered. But then I started hearing about the good in people that came out in the midst of tragedy. People running to help and comfort each other. Boston residents opening their homes to those who were stranded after the race. Runners giving blood at the hospital. Doctors and hospital staff who had the day off showing up to work, to help the injured, without being asked. The list goes on.
People came together. Although I know that this will never take away the pain of losing three lives, of the trauma endured during the attack or of the lives that have been changed forever, it’s at least something. And it gives me hope. Jian Ghomeshi’s essay on the Boston Marathon bombings that aired this morning on Q deeply resonates with me. This Sunday, we’ll be a running a 10k and Boston will be very much on my mind. I know, like many, that we will be running for Boston.