As runner’s crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon, the last thing on their mind was to duck and cover. They were focused on crossing the line that would mark a personal victory. A victory that came from months and for some years of training and dedication. The feelings of success, exhilaration, accomplishment all erased in a flash. The coming together of people to support their friends, loved ones, running buddies were suddenly pulled apart by chaos and tragedy. How do you make sense out of a senseless act?
Every time I see something like this, Sandy Hook, NYC, Atlanta, Colorado and on and on it goes I feel helpless. I feel like a movie is unfolding right before my eyes and I am simply an outsider with no control. It’s like someone kicked me in the gut and I’m unable to fight back. How do you make sense out of a senseless act?
My heart goes out to every participant in yesterday’s marathon. From fire fighters, to EMT’s to onlookers to police and of course runners and their families. As someone who participates in a number of runs, though never qualifying for Boston, there is something about the world of runners that is hard to explain. There is a brotherhood/sisterhood amongst runners. There is a camaraderie that connects us all and somehow we know that no matter what, we have each others back. It’s like an unspoken pact that happens naturally amongst runners.
When I began running races, my first big one was with an organized run by Chicago Tribune columnist, Eric Zorn. He formed the FOOL’s group (For Once in Our Lives) which consisted of runners that wanted to complete their first marathon. My life was forever changed after training for 6 months with that group. Although finishing the marathon was great, the friendships that were created have lasted far beyond the finish line. I remember on long runs, the more experienced runners would run behind me yelling, “You can do it Nicki, you’ve got this.” It almost brings me to tears writing about it. There is an incredible kinship amongst runners and if you’re not a runner, I can’t do it justice in this blog. So the thought of these runners, the relationships, their personal stories, their excitement, and their hard work instantly obliterated by someone’s hatred and clear mental instability is truly tragic. How do you make sense out of a senseless act?
In my small effort to honor, acknowledge, pay tribute to runners and their families, those who lost their life and all the city employees that risked their life for others I’m going to run 103 minutes today. It hardly seems enough, but during the 103 minutes that I run I will be thinking of those runners that never crossed the finish line and hope they make it their mission to make it back to Boston and try again. I will be thinking about those families that came to an event looking to cheer friends or family on and ended up at the emergency room or worst yet, planning a funeral. During the 103 minutes of running I will think about the person or persons that are behind this horrible act and hope they are soon found and we can get some answers. Although what answer would be good enough? How does one make sense of a senseless act?
The best I can do is my little part. It’s interesting how tragedy brings people closer together regardless of distance. It’s touching to see how many people reach out wanting desperately to help. Our country is pretty amazing as no matter how many times we’re knocked down, no matter how many lives are cut short or compromised, we somehow come back stronger and closer than ever. This realization doesn’t change anything but it brings a bit of comfort which during a time like this, we could all use. Boston, this runs for you!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.