To runners, the Boston Marathon is a race many desire to run. It’s a race, where countless runners try to qualify for. Its reputation is prestigious — tell people you’ve run the marathon and it’s as if you’ve reached a whole new level.
To the ordinary public, the Boston Marathon is a time to come out and line the city streets and cheer on not only the elite runners, but even those who cross the finish line in the final wave. It’s a day where an entire city and different nationalities and ethnicities come together.
And on Monday, April 15, someone, or someones, decided to try to destroy any good from the race. About four hours and nine minutes into the race, two explosions along the finish line left over a hundred injured and three dead — one of which was an 8-year-old child.
I was working in the newsroom when another reporter asked if explosions usually happen at the end of the marathon. I thought it was a little weird that there would be explosions, so I took to the internet and my heart sank. Twitter became a breaking news outlet, where users were tweeting about two explosions and the chaos that broke out along Boylston Street. I saw pictures of the sidewalk covered in trash, debris and blood. I had two stories to write for the next day’s newspaper, but those were in the back of my mind. My friends were at this race and some were at the Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
I texted a co-worker who was with a group of people and verified there were two loud, big explosions. Thankfully he was fine. I texted another friend, whose father was running in the marathon. She did’t know what was going on, adding that “it’s chaos here.” I told her what we heard. She said she hadn’t heard from her father, who was supposed to be finishing the race. I wasn’t there at the scene, but I began to panic and grew anxious waiting to hear if her father was OK and if my other friends were safe. Thankfully, those who ran the race finished before the explosions went off and those who were in the area were safe.
I find myself reading updates and follow-up stories about the tragedy; about those who lost their lives and those innocent spectators who were there to cheer on friends, family and even strangers. An article from Runner’s World talks about a photographer’s experience of witnessing the mayhem and trying to find the two runners being profiled for a story. I read it at work today and was devastated.
I’ve never considered myself a runner. I ran all year round in high school and stopped after attending college. I never associated myself with the running group. How could I if I never ran on a regular basis week after week? I work at a running specialty store on the weekends and found myself envying a number of coworkers for their sheer dedication to the sport.
I’ve always tried to get back into running. My passion and love for it disappeared after graduating high school. The motivation was gone. And because of that, I lacked the desire to walk out the door and run down the street. But as I train for my first half marathon, I’ve rediscovered why I grew to love the sport in the first place. It’s a sport, where you don’t have to be the best to feel like you’ve accomplished something. As my boss believes, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go — just so long as you go.
And it was then when I realized why I was so affected by what happened on Monday. I’m a runner. And always will be. Whether we know each other or not, we’re a part of a community — a family. And we’ll always be there to support one another. Like many other runners in the country and even around the world, I’m not exactly sure what I could do to help.
So I’ll run. I’m going to run for Boston. You can bet I’ll run that half marathon even harder for those spectators; for the Bostonians; for the volunteers; for the first responders and for those who were so close to finishing the Boston Marathon and had it taken away from them.