Pride runs rampant through the distance running community. We are tight knit, not because we are a small or exclusive group, but because it is only within this extremely extended family that we find people who understand the pride you feel when you cross a finish line.
“Why do you run?”
We as runners have been asked that question countless times, and I don't know if I've ever answered with the truth. Saying “Because I like it,” or “There's just something about it,” doesn't even begin to cover the multitude or reasons why I chose this sport. I do it because I love the way my body feels six miles into a workout, when I realize I haven't had to think about the act of running for the last half hour. I do it because I love the thirty seconds of hands-on-your-knees hyperventilation right after you finish your last repeat mile. I do it because I go stir crazy without it. Because the closest I've ever been to God is about eight miles down a gravel path. I do it because I can cry on the shoulders of my teammates and know that they understand exactly what I'm going through. I do it because I love running, and I love people who love running, and I love the sense of family that resides between all of us.
I'm heartbroken over yesterday's attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Yet, I'm proud of my community. There isn't a more resilient group of people in the world. If you haven't realized it yet, you will as soon as the stories of terror quiet down and the stories of heroism emerge. Show me a marathoner and I will show you a source of inspiration. They are strong and brave and spirited. They're what you and I aspire to be. I'm unbelievably grateful to learn that our Tufts community was almost unharmed yesterday, but saddened to know that the distance running community was not.
I know that the response to this tragedy will inspire us all. Running now takes on a new meaning. We run for those who loved it, and can no longer. We run for those who were hurt or killed while they supported us in what we do. We run because we will all be stronger for it tomorrow. We run to prove that there is nothing in this world that can break a runner's spirit. In a couple hours I'll lace up my shoes and meet my team for our usual Tuesday afternoon workout. Today, we'll run with heavier hearts as our community mourns, but we will also be inspired by our world-wide family. To those of you (runners and supporters alike) who proved yesterday that the distance running community will always be stronger than the obstacles put in it's path – I thank you. As a runner, I support you, and as a person, I am in awe of you. The runners and spectators that make the Boston Marathon so special are the reason why I love this sport. I am deeply sorry that this happened, but thank you, Boston, for offering us such a special community from which to find hope.