As a Bostonian, I felt compelled to write something, anything, about the tragic events of Marathon Monday. Like many, I was at the finish line in front of Marathon Sports but left a few minutes prior to the horrific events to grab a bite to eat. This week has been marked by incredible gratitude and deep sadness for the victims.
This post is a follow-up to an earlier post I wrote for work.
4.18.13 Runners are a hardy breed. We run through blood blisters, lost toenails and the ever terrible chub rub. The collective “we” seek each other out; weekend warriors knowing the pain and perseverance it take to call oneself a runner. It is why we give a nod or a “g’morning” to our fellow runner as we pass, knowing they too have experienced the uncomfortable and sometimes unsightly side of running. But it is they that have also experienced personal bests, sunrises and sunsets all seen from the vantage point of one’s own feet. The rhythmic pounding, onetwo, onetwo, rolling one to the next much like the act of meditating, it kneads the knots of stress we carry. Some run to feed a competitive hunger, some run for health but most run for the camaraderie that comes with calling oneself a runner. An individual sport that builds herd mentality. You mess with one, you mess with all. The events in Boston will only make the running community stronger. We will run, in a pack, and no one will stop us.
After battling a bad cold for a few weeks, last night I was compelled to get back out there. Always anxious that I had lost all stamina, would I be able to even run for 30 min? Mind you, “run” may be a generous term for what is more likely jogging. Though what is remarkable is the hospitality I’ve received over the years from this group despite my lack of speed. It is a family, a fellowship. Marked by long awaited spring weather, runners by the hundreds tread along the Charles last night. Some wearing t-shirts from previous races as if to say, “We’re not going anywhere”. As the sun set and the sailboats skimmed, the quiet beat of sneakers drummed the pavement. Onetwo, onetwo.
President Obama said, “We may be temporarily knocked off our feet but we will pick ourselves up and keep going. We will finish the race. On the toughest mile, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. We know that. We carry on. We race. We strive. We build and we work and we love and we raise our kids to do the same.”
Nothing could ring more true in Boston. A marathon known for its supporters along every one of its 26.2 miles, cheering, calling out runners names as if to do their part in carrying runners across the finish line. This is a city that will stick together as we learn to walk and run again. It will “run with endurance is the race before us”.
The range of emotion the past week has spanned anxiety to anger to grief. The weight carried on top my chest, making it difficult to breathe. I knew the only way to hoist this weight was to run. It was as though runners across Boston heaved and hoed, jerking and pulling this weight with each successive outing. The ability to breath is now back, the sadness not as a deep.
Runners come in all shapes, sizes and gaits. It is the bond with one another that brings us back time and time again to 5ks, 10ks and marathons, one foot in front of the other onetwo, onetwo.
Please check out the ways below to help:
- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013.
- While supplies are adequate now, local hospitals will need to replenish their supplies in the coming days and weeks. Check out RedCrossBlood.org to schedule an appointment.
- Wear your favorite race shirt on your next run or on a casual day. Check here for ideas.
This is the website set up in their honor.
- Relive college days by seeing what local college kids are doing to participate. See what the kids of Emerson are up to #BostonStrong
- If you have a few minutes: Friends Patrick and Jess Downes were very badly injured in the event. They are warm, generous and incredibly kind kids. Social media really has brought everyone they’ve touched to them almost instantaneously. This is the website set up in their honor. Their families have also set up a Facebook page for friends to post encouraging videos; it already with 5,600 “likes”.
- Kenny Chesney is starting a fund to help those who lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombing. He started the “Spread the Love” fund with his own donation and will gift sales of his single by the same name as well. Donations will go to Boston Medical Center. Fans also can donate directly to the fund at http://bmc.org/Kenny =.
The money will go to the purchase of prosthetics and fitting, follow-up care and physical therapy.
Boston you are my home.
Some additional quotes from Thursday’s interfaith ceremony I found to be particularly moving.
Gov. Patrick: Massachusetts invented America, organized around a handful of civic ideals: equality, opportunity, freedom and fair play. We must not permit darkness and hate to drive out our civic faith. We will rise and we will endure.
President:. An E.B. White quote, “Boston is the perfect state of grace”.
Boston opens its heart to the world.
Rev. Roberto Miranda Congregacion Leon de Juda, Roxbury: Weeping may stay for the night but joy comes in the morning. God weaves a bright tapestry that includes a few dark strands. But God’s love will have the last word.