I have tried several times this week to write about the tragedy in Boston but I just haven’t been able to do it. I am having a hard time putting into words how I felt when I found out about the bombs and how I still feel.
What was such a fun day, even here from Memphis, was absolutely destroyed. I watched the elites race that morning with live streaming and was as excited as if I were there. We knew several people running so we had tracked them as well. About an hour or so after I turned the TV and computer off, I started getting text messages about the bombings.
I didn’t realize at first the magnitude of the bombs. I didn’t realize that not only would there be deaths, there would be so many severe injuries. It’s too hard to comprehend. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around it. When the reporters started comparing it to a war zone, coupled with the horrific pictures, it just took my breath away. This is a horrific tragedy no matter the setting but the fact that it happened at a race just makes it feel so personal. A race is supposed to be your victory march, the cherry on top. It’s a time for inspiration and celebration. I know how incredibly inspiring it is to watch a race and often it is in these moments that new runners are born. I hate to think that instead of inspiration, now the race (or any race, for that matter) is associated with fear.
I’m heartbroken for these people…the runners and spectators. Most of the coverage today has been about the killers and while I understand the need for that, I have tried to learn more about the victims. Not only did three innocent people perish in the bombings but over 180 others suffered injuries. I have read about the newlywed couple who each lost a leg, the dance teacher who suffered severe leg injuries , the young mom who lost both legs, the twenty-something male who lost both legs, the couple who ran the Boston marathon last year who suffered severe injuries, the 6 year old little girl who lost a leg and whose mother suffered a brain injury , and all of the hundred + more who were just there to witness the most epic marathon we have.
I simply cannot imagine the fear that all of these people were and are feeling. I spent some time as a grief counselor and even with this experience, I’m at a loss for words. All I know to do in this moment is to run in their honor and not allow them to be forgotten. Many of these victims will work for months and years to overcome their physical injuries and all of the victims will work for a life time to overcome the mental trauma they have suffered.
I am sickened when I think about my running group experiencing something like this. Keith and I consider our group our family and I keep finding myself wondering what we would do if something like this happened on our home ground. I will not, however, allow this fear to seep into my running and my trying to be the best coach and greatest spectator I can be. Running is what we do. We do it when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we’re stressed, to catch up with friends, to better ourselves, and to lead by example.
I will continue to run and I will most certainly continue to spectate. As President Obama stated, these people “laced up their shoes and set out on a 26.2 mile test of dedication and grit and the human spirit.” I will remember these victims as I set out on my next run and I will run my next 26.2 for those who may never get the opportunity to do it for themselves.
Pray for Boston.