The Strength of a Community

18 Apr

I was debating whether or not to write a post about the Boston bombings. So much has already been said and I doubt I can contribute without repeating someone else’s words. But as I approach a race this weekend I will be keeping everyone in Boston in my thoughts. I am not dissuaded nor am I having second thoughts about running.  If anything, I feel stronger as a runner.

Runners are a breed of their own. We are pulled out of bed in the early morning hours or compelled to finish a run in that snow/rain storm. Some people say we are crazy. I say we are strong, resilient and motivated.  Runners are part of a community unlike any other. We support each other and relish in each other’s accomplishments. We’ve all suffered through injuries, logged countless hours alone on the road, and felt the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Running can be a lonely sport. This is why most runners will smile, wave, or say “good morning” to passing runners. Though they are complete strangers, there is a kinship that binds all runners. You can always tell what kind of shape a runner is in just by the look on his/her face. Often, that simple wave of acknowledgement is a great boost of energy.

On Monday, I was so deeply saddened for a number of reasons. First, before I knew of the casualties and injuries, I felt as though someone had attacked my friends. I had no idea how tied I was to the running community  until this attack. Crossing the finish line of a marathon, or any race, is  huge accomplishment. To make it to Boston is an even bigger accomplishment. Some people have spent years training and sacrificing to run the streets of Boston. This moment of pride and joy was stolen and replaced with fear. Second, I am saddened for those who have lost their lives and suffered grave injuries. A race is a celebration of life and health; a celebration of which the participants were robbed.

For many people, myself included, a race is emotional. As I mentioned previously, there is a kinship that binds us and surpasses race, nationality, sex, size, age, etc. I cannot conceive of a greater community of people. I am proud to be a runner and continue to encourage people to tie on those old sneakers and hit the road.

The victims, runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon will be in my thoughts and will hold a special place in my heart as I cross the finish line on Sunday.



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