It is an understatement to say that we are all sad for the events at the Boston Marathon on Monday. On Monday morning before work, Josh and I were at our kitchen table strategizing on the best way to track our friends who were running the race. We had our plan in place: text message alerts and tracking via the map interface on the marathon site. I was so excited to virtually “watch” my friends cross the finish line.
I had teammates who took their first trip to Boston ever on Sunday night so they could watch the race, to cheer for our team. I knew they were located just around the 26-mile mark. We had been texting back and forth in the morning as they saw our teammates run past. However, the next string of texts that came through were out of order but the most scary and heart wrenching messages I have ever seen. “People died.” “It’s bad it got really crazy here really fast.” “There was an explosion.” I then get an email from a friend with the subject “Bomb at Boston Marathon.” And another text from my friend in Boston. “Our teammates are ok.” Those were probably the best words I could have read at that moment.
Between frantically trying to find more information on the Internet, calling Josh, and talking to co-workers, I still had to make sure everyone I knew in Boston were safe. I had to hear it from them. After many failed attempts to reach everyone by phone, I eventually received the confirmation I needed from the various different communication outlets we have today (thank goodness for them) – Facebook, text, and email. As I followed the live stream of information flowing in, I was in disbelief. I was humbled by the family and friends who reached out to my family and I to make sure I was safe and to check-in on my friends in Boston. I was very lucky; everyone we knew in the area whether they were associated with the race or not were safe. However, there many, many more who cannot say the same and I am heartbroken for them.
As a newbie marathon runner, I remember very clearly what it was like to add a marathon to your bucket list, to finally build up the courage to train for months for the 26.2 (and then have it yanked from you due to Hurricane Sandy), finally make it to the start line of a marathon, the grueling miles until the finish, the sense of accomplishment and joy seeing your family and friends on the course, and the feeling of elation knowing you’re running for a cause. I am disappointed that the field of marathon running may change in many ways as a result of the horrific events in Boston. I am disappointed in the fear that will face many people as they think about training or approaching another start line. I am disappointed by the fear that this caused distance runners everywhere and the fear that it causes for their loved ones. However, through the fear, we continue to run, #RunforBoston.
I did just that yesterday. I proudly wore my Philadelphia Marathon shirt and was overjoyed by the number of people who smiled and said hello to me on my four-mile run. I had another runner excited to tell me she ran the same race last year and a dog walker who said hello and wished me a good run. As I commit myself to running, I will run for Boston, run for my grandmother, and run to end Alzheimer’s.