11 hours ago
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
About ten years ago, I started running in earnest to lose weight and get fit. Soon after, I committed to running a marathon and, from that moment on, my sights were set on Boston. My first run, after spending a decade as a relatively sedentary person, was three miles. It took me a very long time, and caused a great deal of pain. Needless to say, I had a long way to go.
I ran hard and logged miles, got injured and recovered, and trained hard again, logged more miles and fell short of that goal over and over again. It seemed that on every single one of those -- sometimes lonely, sometimes awkward, always uncomfortable -- school bus rides to starting lines, I could overhear dozens of conversations about the Boston Marathon. It seemed it was all anyone talked about. And to be honest, it was also all I could think about.
In 2007, after eight marathons, I finally qualified and ran the 112th Boston Marathon in 2008. It was a dream come true and I soaked up every last minute of my trip to Beantown.
Now fast forward to 2013. I was returning to work from a late lunch and started hearing reports of what eventually turned out to be two bombs at the finish line of the most historic marathon in the world. We all know the story from here.
From that shocking moment, I have had an overwhelming feeling of unity, patriotism and longing to help in this moment of tragedy. A horrific attack that struck the sport I love the most; struck it at the “Super Bowl” of that sport.
The social media channels lit up with support, unforgettable stories of valor, bravery, heroism and strength. All the things I would expect to hear from a nation of runners who dedicate their mornings to punishing their bodies in order to strengthen their minds and spirits.
Near the end of the week, I started hearing of some memorial runs to raise money for the victims of the bombings, for OneFundBoston I thought to myself, “The LAST thing I need is another running shirt, but I absolutely CANNOT skip this run.”
The entire week, I felt the strength and power of all those people on all those uncomfortable busses, in all those communities in the entire nation, all coming together for the one thing that had drawn them all together. The one thing they have talked about on countless busses before countless races of countless miles. The “Super Bowl” of Running. The Boston Marathon.
My three miles weren’t much, nor was my $20. But with all you millions of running friends, we are huge. We are strong. We are united. And we will never be defeated.