I’m a runner. I’ve competed in countless 5k’s (winning some and placing in others) and two marathons, coming very close to qualifying for Boston. That was always my goal; to qualify to compete in the Boston Marathon (the Mecca of running events in the United States, if not the world). So when two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the tragic events hit close to home.
But the events didn’t just hit close to home because I wanted to run in the Boston Marathon, they hit close to home because running is a a tight-knit community. That’s the best way I can put it. Runners are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. In a world where people are rude and self-involved, runners will always throw a hand to wave at another runner passing them by. Runners will always trade tips and advice they’ve received from other runners. Runners cheer another’s accomplishments and uplift others through their respective disappointments (be it an injury or missing your goal time).
So when those bombs went off a week ago today, those weren’t just Bostonians who were killed or injured; those were my brothers and sisters in the running community.
Let’s not mince words about it, the attacks on the Boston Marathon were acts of cowardice from two “men” who deserve nothing less but to burn in Hell. In the weeks to come, we’ll learn more about what justifications the two brothers had for their attacks. Let me be clear, there can never be an excuse for such senseless actions that result in loss of life and countless life-altering injuries. These attacks were carried out as a means of instilling fear into the population; to make us change how we live and enjoy life.
But as we’ve all seen over the past week, the terrorists did not accomplish their goal. Quite the opposite, in fact. Instead of instilling fear in the running community, we are now more determined to compete in our respective races. It’s the best way we know to spit in the face of the attackers.
Whereas normally runners run for themselves (their health, the “runner high”), runners are dedicating their races to the victims of the Boston attacks. It’s a sign of solidarity that runs deep in the fabric of the running community.
But the solidarity doesn’t stop there. Help and support have come from all corners of the United States, not just New England. During the attacks, bystanders and first responders came to the assistance of the victims, immortalizing themselves as true American heroes in the process. During and after the attacks, law enforcement demonstrated a resolved and unshakable dedication to bringing those responsible to justice.
I’ve seen the righteousness of the human spirit this week, and it is moving.
It assures me that these events will not break our spirit, but gives us that much more resolve to demonstrate to our enemies we are unfaltering in our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness to no end.
It comforts me to know that we will not bend or break in the face of adversity from our attackers.
And I think that’s the point of running. You can train your muscles for months and miles on end, but in the end you can only finish the race given you have the right motivation and willpower. It’s about overcoming adversity, doubts, and in some cases, your fears.
Running 26.2 miles is a daunting task, made possible only by the desire to do so.
As a nation, we’ve already determined we’re not going to let this attack affect us. As a running community, we’re prepared to show the world the same thing.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the Boston Marathon attack and although no actions can ever truly bring justice to those affected, we hope that everyone can find closure and peace.