Under the warm sun you run. Passing by the trees, the signs, the people. Hundreds of people surround you and yet you are alone. Racing with yourself. Just you and your dreams, your thoughts, your goals. You struggle towards the finish line that you see in your mind. Knowing that in a few short hours you will look back at this time and smile. Remembering all those who believe in you, helped you, raised money with you, or have gone before you. You are here for them. You are here for yourself. You are weightless, aimless, boneless, flying……..
That is the marathon. It is about so much more than yourself and yet only about yourself. It is an internal and external journey that gives joy, pleasure, pain, and hope. To hundreds. To thousands. To millions. The people who watch, participate, work, volunteer, or even benefit from the charity money. A marathon touches millions. Every marathon. Small or large. That is what a marathon is, a journey of millions. Some people may even not realize they are making the journey.
Today, the marathon most people experience once in a lifetime was experienced by the world. Watching the videos, hearing the words, seeing the pictures. We were all right there. Standing in awe as someone took the most meaningful and joyous journey that can be experienced by the human body and turned it into a terrifying and scary ordeal. For those present and those at home waiting. For some words. For some facts. For anything that would make this tragedy seem in anyway less tragic.
I got the final word around 7pm this evening. The last of the friends I had checked in to let me know they are okay. They are not one of the few who lost their lives or limbs today. All of my friends who were running the race of their dreams managed to survive with only mental wounds.
The Boston Marathon is not my marathon. It has never been “my marathon”. As a goal, as a dream, or even as a bucket list item. So many of my friends judge their success on their BQ time (boston qualifier), but I have never entertained that I would be fast enough. I am not an “in it to win it” runner. My standard joke is that I will run it when I am 90 and you qualify by being still upright and running. Admiring this race and watching the elites compete is a standard ritual for me. It inspires me. It motivates me to run. I got outside and ran this morning because the race motivated me to. It gave me the extra push out the door this morning and the hope that even with an injury I, like Kara Goucher, can overcome.
After seeing the events of today and feeling the atmosphere sink into my heart I know it is different. Things have changed. Marathon running, one of the purest joys you can feel from taking your body to its limits, can change your life. This tragedy has changed everyone. Maybe not on levels they see yet, but in ways that they will feel for quite some time. The only thing we can do it band together and move on.
Run for yourself. Run for your friends. Run for the fallen comrades who will never run again. Run free my friends and embrace every moment you can do so.
- Two other devices found close to scene of Boston Marathon blast in US (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- The Meaning of the Boston Marathon (newyorker.com)
- Lake Stevens runner knocked down by Boston Marathon blast (king5.com)
- Blasts Reported at Boston Marathon (huffingtonpost.com)
- Locals at Boston Marathon OK after explosions (outerbanksvoice.com)
- 117th Boston Marathon begins (m.si.com)