There aren’t the right words to sum up my feelings about yesterday. Regardless of whether or not you’re a runner, I imagine the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday have affected you in a multitude of ways. As a fellow runner, I feel as if someone just attacked my friends (thanks Twitter for summing up my thoughts). I was shocked and dismayed that something like this could have happened– at a place where elites, soccer moms, and senior citizens can come together to celebrate the sport of running together. When I was little, I lived in the Boston area and my mom would always take me and my sisters to Heartbreak Hill to watch the runners, I was inspired by these runners and could never imagine running that far myself. The Boston Marathon was always on my bucket list of races I’d like to do, but now I know that this is one I must complete because we must show whoever did this that we are not afraid of them.
As the running community grapples, alongside the rest of the world, with the ripple effect that this will have on the sport of running and beyond, a group of students at Boston College have found a way to honor those impacted. They will walk the final 5 miles of the Boston Marathon route from their campus on Commonwealth Ave to the finish line area at Copley Square to finish the marathon for all those who were unable to finish yesterday. I think the symbolism is a beautiful sign of resilience.
I wish that I could join them in person, but being here in the DC area, that will not be possible. Instead, in a show of solidarity, I’ve decided to take my own 5-mile run on Friday to “finish” the marathon for those who were unable to finish and to honor those who lost their lives or were injured celebrating one of the greatest human feats. So who will join me on a run to finish the Boston Marathon on Friday? Regardless of where you live, come walk or run those five miles with me and share your stories with the world. There’s no stronger statement we can send than to band together (even if it is virtually) and heal together. As the BC student’s Facebook page says: “we decide when the marathon ends”. Any runner knows that a marathon is the ultimate testament to human willpower: it takes blood, sweat, tears, and determination. I have full confidence that the running community (and our great country) will grow stronger from this experience and we will not cower in fear.
Running has always been therapeutic and healing for me. I hope you will join me as we mourn and honor those impacted. Stay strong my friends and to quote my fellow blogger Anne of fANNEtastic Food, “Let’s show the world how strong runners are. Boston – this one’s for you.“