What the Boston Marathon Means to Me
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
As I walk around Boston today, law enforcement is making its presence known: SWAT teams, K9, National Guard, BPD, State Police - they are all out and about.
So are the blue and yellow BAA jackets. The uniform of the runners. Some who didn't get to finish and make the goal that they trained and worked so hard for. And some who did finish, but whose experience was marred by bloodshed and cowardice.
I'm angry. I'm so angry that I find this hard to write.
I didn't run Boston this year and I haven't in the past. I'm sure there are others here who can talk about the sweat and agony of Heartbreak Hill and working through the blisters and chafing on Mile 20 and how it feels to turn the bend and see the Citgo sign peeking out from Fenway and knowing that they're almost there. I don't have that experience, but I have the experience of feeling the joy that comes with sharing my city with thousands of runners on a holiday that the Commonwealth celebrates, but rest of the nation does not: Patriots Day.
I hate that one person's (or one group's) cowardly violent act will define this day for so many. I hate that the winners' names are halfway down the page of the newspaper today, their acheivements scuttled by shrapnel.
I hate that it is mostly the slower runners who made huge fundraising commitments to run for charity are the ones who had their marathon dream deferred yesterday. And that many of their supporters paid a huge price for standing on the sidelines.
I hate that the victims are my neighbors, one as young as 8 years old; one who lives blocks away from me.
But I have to say, my love for this city, my love for the runners I share it with each Patriots Day will drown out all of my anger eventually. Someday, I will run Boston. I will know the joy of running a marathon and sharing the pain and frustration and elation and amazement with my fellow runners. I will know I did it in the city that I love with all my heart. When the bombs went off, people ran toward the blasts: to help and to console the victims. I love that for even though Bostonians and Massachusettians get a bum rap for having a hard edge, so many reached out yesterday to those in need.
Boston, you're my home. And running, you're my peace.