I've wanted to write about the Boston marathon, have started a couple of times, but could never put anything down that sounded remotely descriptive of what I feel.
It's just the shittiest. And that's about as eloquent as I can get right now. Luckily while I was online today I found a writer who said what I wanted and needed to say, only far more eloquently and without the cursing.
From Jonathan Beverly on RunnersWorld.com:
One of the cruel twists of April 15, 2013, is that many of the victims of the Boston bombings were spectators and supporters of runners. Anyone who has run a marathon knows that these are among the world’s most unselfish people that day: wives and husbands, mothers and sons, sisters and friends who give up their weekend, fight crowds and endure weather to stand for hours to glimpse their loved one passing by, to cheer and help celebrate someone else’s accomplishment. I cannot imagine the emotions of fearing that someone who came to support me might have given their life. Faced with tragedy, I’m reminded that our time is limited, and we give our lives by how we spend the hours while our hearts still beat.
I read this, and it hit the nail exactly on the head for why I've felt so devastated by what happened. Anyone would be devastated. It's a horrific event no matter your perspective.
But he's so right. These people who were hurt or killed. They were doing something so kind and good and supportive. I keep thinking of the people cheering for me at the end of my marathon. There were the people who knew me, who I loved, who I cannot even fathom something like this happening to. But there were also strangers, people who didn't know me at all.
And they still cheered. The last half mile of the marathon was such a blur. I was so exhausted. But from all around me I heard a chorus of "Go Liz!" or "You're almost there Liz." I kept looking to see if it was people I knew. But for the most part it wasn't. They were strangers. When I was on empty, when my legs were gone, when I could barely put one foot in front of the other, these people carried me.
They were doing the same thing in Boston. And then something like this happened. And it's just the shittiest.
I do take comfort in one thing. It's such a cliche at this point because people keep saying it, but it's also true and good and one of the only things about this whole situation that is beautiful. You watch the video of the bombs, and so many people, police and security yes, but also just regular people, men and women, many of whom who had just ran 26.2 miles, they ran toward the explosions. They could have been propelled by animal instinct, by gut self preservation to run the opposite direction. No one would have blamed them.
But they ran toward the explosions. They ran to help. They ran motivated by that nugget of humanity that motivates unfathomable heroism but also motivates strangers to stand by a race route and cheer for the nutjobs who run a marathon, to support the insane in their ridiculous pursuit.
I am so awed by the fierce strength of that humanity. And I think of that when the world threatens to fall apart, when something as good and positive as a marathon turns into bloodshed and terror.
I think of the people who ran to help.
And then I do what I do, and have done for several years now, when my heart needs some grace.
I lace up my tennis shoes and I run until the world stops spinning.