I first heard about the explosions from a coworker. Then, I went on Twitter where news comes in faster, unedited, uncensored and – in this case – graphic. I knew it was bad. It was the same feeling of helplessness I felt after 9-11. Even hundreds of miles away, safe where I was. How could this be happening? Evil rearing its ugly head AGAIN, on a picture perfect day, in a picture perfect city, during a race that is a pinnacle for most runners. I can only imagine the terror, pain and confusion. My heart aches for them and this unspeakable act of violence.
If you run, and even if you don’t, you know the anticipation, training and celebration that goes into running a big race. It’s not just the runner, but the runner’s family that sacrifices for months. To even run this historic, prestigious race, you have to qualify. Best of the best. Someplace I will never be, and, on this day, unfortunately -the wrong place at the wrong time for far too many people.
Running and races will never be the same. Security will be tightened. People will be cautious, maybe even opt out. Of course, this is what the perpetrators want. Fear is their weapon. I have many runner friends and have read their FB posts. They will not let fear take away their passion from running and plan to go forward with their plans to run the Buffalo Marathon, even the Boston marathon in the future. I admire this attitude. Me? I would think twice from doing a 10,000 person Corporate Challenge again or even a 12,000 person Color Run like I did last Summer. Am I wrong for being overly cautious? Probably. It’s too raw, too fresh, too despicable, scary and nightmare-inducing to process. The thing is – running saved my life, physically and mentally. To have a race where life was taken away? It’s just too much to comprehend.
What good can come of this evil? The best we can do now – in the coming days, weeks and months, is to seek out stories about the heroes who reached out to help fellow runners/spectators. For every one act of violence, there were dozens of small acts of kindness and compassion. When I left work, I continued to listen to the radio’s account of what was unfolding and the aftermath. Feeling helpless, I did the only thing that felt right – I went for a run.