I’ve been thinking about how to write this post since last night. Being a Boston resident and a part of the running community it feels like I should have something impactful to say about the events from the finish line of yesterday’s Boston Marathon. But I will probably just echo what many others have written about yesterday’s events.
It was senseless. Unfair. Unjust.
It took innocent lives, shattered trust and tarnished a beautiful tradition of this city.
I took a lot of pictures yesterday intending to share them with you all today. Michael and I stood at the finish line a little over an hour before all of this happened. I took photos of all those countries’ flags waving in the wind as we cheered on the runners, got swept up in the jubilation of the day and watched with pride as competitors from so many walks of life finished their amazing runs. I was overcome with emotion and inspiration all day, even before this tragedy occurred, as I witnessed the beauty of the human spirit.
Today I will try not to add to all the bad circulating in the news. I’m choosing instead to highlight the beauty of humankind because I believe wholeheartedly that most humans are kind. And if you ever start to question this, you should really watch a marathon. It will restore your faith in others, in the ability to endure, in how you can be part of a team even in an individual event.
These are the stories I wish to share with you, the ones I hope will help fill the hollowness you may feel today, if only just a little. I’m not much of a storyteller but I’ll do my best to paint a picture of all the wonderful things that happened yesterday.
Early in the day, I watched the paraplegic athletes compete with awe and respect. Their determination and grace was an inspiration that brought tears to my eyes.
A bit later, I had a chance to see the elite runners of the world glide through their final miles, doing what they love with power and beauty. I was humbled by how much dedication and work this must take.
Much later in the afternoon, I saw a tired woman walking in the 25th mile, we happened to be standing near her husband who cheered her name loudly as she came into view. When she saw him she ran to him, kissed him strongly on the lips and as if this were all the will she needed she began to run again. This scene moved me so much that I actually started to cry right then and there.
A few minutes later, I saw a spectator in jeans from the crowd sprint to her struggling friend on the course, wrap her arms around her to help her complete the last leg of the race. The runner planted a big kiss on her friend’s cheek as she leaned heavily on her shoulder for support.
Right before we headed home, I saw two blind runners running arm in arm with their guides proudly finishing out their final mile with no regard for their disadvantage.
And lastly, I didn’t see it first hand but I later watched footage of medical teams and police and soldiers running toward the blasts, into harm’s way, to help others. I saw regular, everyday people helping total strangers, offering what they could to aid in the comfort of others.
And these are just some of the stories I experienced at mile 25. But there were 25.2 other miles I didn’t see, thousands of other people who didn’t catch my eye who did amazing and incredible things for themselves and others all day. Droves of fans whose cheers and yells propelled others along, volunteers who aided weary runners all along the way, camaraderie that circumvented nationalities and abilities, pride for this city and its tradition.
So I will not allow terrorism or fear or evil to overshadow the beauty of the day, the endurance of the human spirit. Let’s celebrate the coming together, not the breaking apart.
My greatest sympathies to those directly affected by yesterday’s events. Please know you are not alone, there is a tough, resilient city standing behind you in support.
Enjoy and Exhale!