DONATE TO THE VICTIMS OF BOSTON: http://onefundboston.org/
It is with a heavy hand and a heavy heart that I struggle to write this post. The images, the eye-witness accounts from yesterday's tragedy are on a continuous reel in my head and all over ever piece of media.
Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration for all those in Boston and supporters of the Boston Marathon.
For those that do not know, I am born and raised in Boston, MA. I grew up in the area and as am advocate of fitness was a huge fan of the marathon. I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2005 with no training, no advice, no phone, water etc; just a curious nature and a strong belief that I could do it.
After a successful completion of the 2005 Marathon, I was addicted. I continued the addiction by running the Boston Marathon in 2006, 2007 and 2008. I also worked as an intern at the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) that organizes and puts the entire event together.
Needless to say there is a lot of pride here in regards to such a notorious event on Patriots Day. There is nothing out there like it. You have the entire city supporting you, cheering for you, watching your journey of the 26.2 miles to Boston.
For those who have not ever done a marathon, there is not a feeling in the world like the ones experienced during the marathon. I cannot speak for anyone else but for me I know every time I crossed that starting line in Hopkinton I was beginning yet another journey of finding myself, challenging myself and being inspired by the other 20,000+ participants around me. For those 26.2 miles you go through every possible human emotion; fear, anxiety, joy, fatigue, worry, relief, confusion etc. The term commonly associated with marathon running is, "hitting a wall" and it is true.
A marathon is not like any other sport in that you can't call a time-out, you cannot 'sub-in' or tap out and even if you are part of a team running, you still are responsible for your own two feet. By the time you enter into Boston the body is fatiguing fast. The people in the crowd have no idea what the body is experiencing. I learned very quickly that even though the crowd is yelling and cheering; a single high-five will knock you down. When you cross that finish line you are so worn out, the body is so physically exhausted and mentally drained. It's hard enough to navigate the finish line on a normal day let alone what the runners experienced yesterday afternoon. The finish line of the Boston Marathon is such a symbol for runners. You have just traveled 26.2 miles, your body wants to stop, your mind is racing with emotions and feelings, you are steps away from the huge accomplishment you set out to achieve and crossing that blue & yellow painted pavement signifies a successful completion, a signal that you achieved a huge feat and that you are done. The one image that I held strong in my head every time I ran was that finish line. As you run on Commonwealth Ave under the tunnel, the anticipation is building. When you round the corner uphill on Hereford Street for that last and final turn onto Boylston the only thing that keeps you going is the blue & yellow sign hanging high above the street with the crowd cheering and screaming. That finish line signifies the end of your journey, it represents the struggle, the commitment to year-round training, to the intrinsic reasons for motivation and inspiration to compete. I have crossed that finish line alone, with my Dad and the feeling is always the same; an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and unity with all those who traveled the same distance as I just did.
The Boston Marathon is notorious for so many reasons. It's the most challenging, it's the oldest annual, it still retains its original name not clouded by marketing/sponsors etc, and it's the kind of Marathon you can run and have strangers beside you on the course cheer you along, help you out and make new lifelong friends. For those of us lucky enough to have participated, volunteered or been a spectator in one or multiple Boston Marathons, the significance of the event and that day is tremendous.
I urge everyone to recognize the significance of what happened, but to pray for all those affected by this tragedy. Despite this dark blemish, people should know the Boston Marathon will continue to be a sense of hope for all the charities it supports, a challenge to competitive and casual runners as well as the greatest experience and memory of someones life as it is for me.
TO DONATE TO THE OFFICIAL FUND - http://onefundboston.org/