Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This isn’t about running.

I first made the left-hand turn onto Boylston St. in 2002, just months after 9/11. I was so overwhelmed by the crowds, the accomplishment, the moment, that I shed a tear mid-stride. It wasn't just a marathon. It was BOSTON. Hallowed ground. The ultimate. The culmination of years of work, training and a dream.

But this isn’t about running.

I qualified again a few years later, this time bringing along my children to witness the spectacle and see how their father's hard work, early mornings, and qualifying races had paid off. They were there on Boylston. They stood on that street at that finish line. They had seen their dad do it, and had cheered along with the thousands of spectators.

But this isn’t about running.

I didn’t cry when I heard the news. I was stunned. I saw the footage from every angle. Still, no tears. But when I heard about an 8-year-old boy who died welcoming his father to the finish line…

That could have been one of my kids. Or both. I could have been that father. We were in that same spot. So many people were. It kept me awake last night. A small punishment of ‘what ifs.’ What if I had decided to run Boston this year? What if I had run just the wrong finishing time? What if, what if, what if?

But this isn’t about running.

This weekend, I am driving to the small Iowa town where my daughter goes to college. We are going to run a 5k together benefiting the local fire department. It may be her first steps toward running a 10k, a marathon, or maybe even a trip someday to Boston.

But this isn’t about running.

There will be a Boston next year and the year after that and for years to come. And, mark my words, I will return there and cross that line again, maybe with my daughter. And we won’t be afraid. We will be surrounded by people a lot like us from all over the world. People who want to experience something overwhelming. People who want to spend time with the beautiful citizens who come out year after year on Patriot’s Day, to celebrate what’s good with the world, what’s right.

But this isn’t about running.

I cannot imagine the hurt in the family of that 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard. But I can imagine the love that’s headed their way, from everyone who has run Boston, who has finished, who has watched, who has volunteered, who has protected, who has lived. There are millions of us, all thinking of that child, his father, his family and an event that celebrates life year after year after year.

Because this isn’t about running.

1 comment:

The Old Bag said...