To a runner, the Boston Marathon means a lot. The Boston Marathon is so much more than a race. So many hopes and dreams are wrapped up in the Hopkinton start and the final turn onto Boylston Street.
In 2011 and 2012 I had the opportunity to watch the live stream. I still remember watching Sheron Cherop take the turn onto Boylston and leave Sumgong in the dust. I remember how vividly in love with running and the Boston marathon I was and still am.
This year I could not watch the whole race but arrived home just in time to catch the last few hundred meters of the women’s race and the final couple miles of the men’s. I was riding a runner’s high. My “I-want-to-run-Boston” meter was full and overflowing.
I kept checking the tracking site and twitter to see how well some of my friends performed. Then came the unthinkable.
Josh Cox, elite runner, tweeted a photo along with text warning about two explosions. When no follow up tweets came soon after, I wondered what had happened. Then the floodgates opened.
Enter the feeling of sickening horror, anger and disbelief. As I tried to keep my focus on finishing my thesis, I could not help being drawn back to twitter and all the news about the explosions, the bombs.
I thought about all the runners who worked so hard to qualify for this bucket list race that never got to finish. I thought about one runner who crossed the finish line just as the first explosion went off. She had her arm raised in triumph, as one should at the finish line of a marathon, but then it all went wrong. I thought about the spectators there at the finish waiting for their loved ones, these spectators that suffered the unthinkable.
My mind cannot even begin to comprehend this. Running is an integral part of me. Someone set bombs specifically to injure runners or spectators or both. I’m left with the big question, why? So many people are asking that question now. Why?
Then comes the question of how to respond, how to move on. I ran this morning; I ran to remember Boston and the victims. My feet pounded the pavement with determination, the determination to train well, run hard, Boston qualify.
Why do I run?
I run to remember.
I run because I must.