The tragic event at the Boston Marathon stirred much emotion in me this week. Of course, the first emotion is one of sadness and sorrow for the loss of life. The feelings of despair that surrounds any senseless act of violence was my first reaction. With tearful eyes, my mind darted to my friends running the race. I immediately checked Facebook to see updates, much to my relief they were safe. As I continued to watch hours of news updates, my mind wandered to the irony of the horrific event.
I am a runner. My husband is a runner. With four, 13.1 races under my belt, a full marathon for my husband and countless 5-K, we are a racing family. All our bib numbers hang on the wall in our den, along with our plagues and medals. Yes, the older girl even places in some races. I began to reflect on the races I have run. Runners are a part of a unique culture. I can’t put my finger on it, but they are a peace-loving group. Blame it on high levels of endorphins from miles and miles of pounding the pavement, but these people are kind-hearted and generous. You would think that would not be the case given it is a competition, but runners compete against themselves mostly. There is a brotherhood and sisterhood among distance runners.
I have never had a race experience that was negative. It is a very fun time. It is a time of celebration of goals met and personal bests in the making. It is hard to explain if you have never experienced it. It is the sound of strangers clapping and cheer when you feel your glutes go numb on the 8th mile. It is the hug you get from a stranger at the finish for completing that 13.1 miles. It is just a very cool experience. For me the irony is why would runners get targeted? I know, that it was an international event. The race of all races. But still the universal question for me is why the runners’ big day. Why must tragedy strike this part of our culture? Racing is a damn peaceful event. I have a difficult time wrapping my head around this like I did the tragedy in Newtown, CT. I will say that event brought me to my knees. You see before I am a runner, I am a teacher. Nothing shook me to the core like the deaths of those small children. I pause and ask God, why the kind, the gentle, and the good-hearted? Why are you taking these souls from us?