When I don’t know what to do, I run.
I ran today because nothing else made sense. I wore my race shirt of blue and gold, found an American flag, and started my run. Yesterday, bombs went off at the Boston Marathon. People died. Limbs shattered. Hearts broke.
The Boston Marathon – only the most elite race in the US. Those who wish to earn the coveted title of “Boston Qualifier” must hold a little over an 8-minute mile consistently for 26.2 miles in a previous marathon. Other runners are able to get in with slower times by running to raise money for charities. Those who earn a place in this race either have a heart of gold running to help humanity, or have worked for years to get their pace times worthy – or both. The people who run this race are the best of us.
And that is why this tragedy has rocked me to my core. It wasn’t just an attack upon my country, it was an attack upon my runners.
We share a special bond. We know what it feels like to get out of bed while the world sleeps. We feel the highs and lows of logging in miles on lonely roads. We sweat in blazing heat, freeze in icy starlight, put our heads down to pierce through biting winds, and climb our mountains with our legs and in our minds. We have staggered through our final mile, and we have flown with the wind to a new PR. Elation and devastation go hand-in-hand, as we always try to race the best version of ourselves. When we pass another runner, we just nod, because we know. No words necessary.
We also don’t scare easy. If we did, we wouldn’t be runners. That’s why whoever did this needs to redefine their title. Terrorists only succeed when they cause terror. Runners won’t give in to fear, because that is how we live. We fight off the excuses each day we lace up our shoes. We don’t embrace comfort, but pain. We don’t like life soft, but hard. We don’t get scared when attacked; we get angry.
I made it my goal yesterday to race at the Boston Marathon next year as a qualifier. I always toyed with the idea, but this bombing just drove my resolve to a new level. I predict thousands of other runners will do this as well. We will race despite the evil in the world, because we have faced darkness many times before. The desperate acts of the weak minded will never intimidate the runner, because that is what it means to be a runner. This passion to run has brought us to our knees in humility, but also to our heights of achievement. And that is what the Boston Marathon is – our highest honor. And that is what terrorism messed with yesterday.
To those responsible for the bombs, be warned; there is an entire movement giving chase. We are fast, we are united, we are strong, and we are coming…
Better start running…