The Boston Marathon 2013 – A Sad Day For Our Running Community

The footage continues to play over and over and over again until your head aches.  More news comes out, more sadness of how horrific this tragedy was and continues to be– the finish line, explosions, and thoughts of my friends running the Boston Marathon.  Are they okay; are their family members and friends okay?  I’m very concerned and scared; seriously this cannot be happening.  Innocent people about to accomplish an incredible goal as they run towards the finish line, innocent people cheering and innocent people just waiting to watch for their loved ones to victoriously cross the finish line… and then the unimaginable.  Unfair.

Boston Marathon

For runners who did finish, this marathon is probably no personal victory — the incredible accomplishment was doused by what happened at the finish line and the body pain from running 26.2 miles is replaced with a broken heart.  The medal, usually proudly displayed, well, not so much this year.  Unfair.

As runners, we all know the Boston Marathon is the race we all strive to run at some point. Busting our butts training for months just to qualify for Boston at another marathon and, if you do qualify, it’s a personal and prestigious victory because we are then officially and proudly a Boston qualifier — and we tell the world!  The Boston Marathon weekend is special, and the energy and excitement cannot be expressed in words. The amazing expo, the jacket and being handed your official Boston race bib.  It’s special — very special.  You think to yourself, as a runner I’ve reached the top of the mountain and now all of my energy will be focused on getting to Hopkinton and Athlete’s Village and, finally, the start line of the most prestigious marathon of them all — and as the Boston Marathon starts you may quietly say to yourself, pinch me, I’m actually here running and it feels so good!  And I’m sure it did this year for most runners.  But, that feeling was short-lived and replaced with sadness and tears.  Unfair.

I remember when I ran Boston, the most incredible sight was seeing the CITGO sign after tackling the final hills, then cruising the final stretch and making the left turn onto Boylston Street — the finish line clearly in sight.  Words cannot express the emotions I felt as I ran towards that finish line:  crowds of cheering people, tears of joy in my eyes and finally crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  As I mentioned, this year for those that finished, that incredible feeling was probably short-lived.  Unfair.

For the running community, April 15, 2013, was our toughest day ever no matter who you are or where you were.  Our sport, our running community was devastated and tarnished by a coward or group of cowards.  The innocence of the running world lost.  Sure the blah, blah, blah of talking heads on TV guaranteeing justice and talking about the Boston Marathon non-stop will continue for days, weeks, months and possibly years.  However, this tragedy will always be connected with the word “Marathon,” specifically the Boston Marathon.  All non-runners will associate the Boston Marathon with the events of April 15, 2013, and not for its prestige and true meaning, the most elite Marathon in existence.  This is certainly not how I want my sport that I love portrayed.  Unfair.

The reality — the running community is sad, sad for those that lost their lives, sad for those that were injured and sad for our sport which was tarnished.  All we do is run to escape the day-to-day world filled with stress, tragedy and conflict; a world that crept in to our running community through the back door on Monday.  Running makes us better people by achieving what we may have thought impossible to achieve.  Running helps us to get through challenges in our lives.  The running community is a safe, peaceful, loving and motivating community where everyone is bonded together to support each other.  Our loved ones support us and cheer us on as we accomplish our running goals.  The events of April 15, 2013, at the Boston Marathon are unimaginable and incomprehensible.  No runner, let alone anyone else, can wrap his or her head around this one and we never will.  Unfair.

As runners we need to move forward and keep doing what we do — run.  We train to be resilient and overcome challenges, and no doubt all runners and the running community will get past this tragedy.  To the finishers of this year’s Boston Marathon, congratulations, you deserve all the respect due for accomplishing your goal, though bittersweet.  To those runners that were forced to stop before the finish line, don’t give up — keep running — you will be even stronger next marathon.  To the heroes that unselfishly sacrificed and went above and beyond to help runners and spectators alike, thank you.  And finally, to those that were injured or suffered a personal loss, the thoughts and prayers of the entire running community are with you.  You are part of our family and we deeply feel the pain.

Yes, the events of April 15, 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon was a day our innocence was lost, which was unnecessary and unfair.  However, this marathon, along with all other marathons and of course runners all over the world, will move forward stronger than ever.  I will always be a proud runner no matter what.  And that is fair!


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Categories: Boston Marathon, Marathons, Running Motivation, Running Related, Social Media, Tribute, Why I Run
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  • Brianna Carlson says:
    April 17, 2013 1:11 PM

    I just wanted to thank you for this response. I am also a marathon runner, and I have been trying to qualify for Boston for years now. I was there Sunday for the 5k and for the expo and the excitement inspired me and just made me want to qualify even more. Being able to stand under the finish and take pictures reinforced my ultimate goal. Monday I spend all day watching the marathon footage, first the elite race, then the view from capital hill. I had only just turned it off to hear of the horrible attack.
    I was devastated. All I could think was, if I had qualified, I would have been ecstatic and proud and I’m positive my family would have been at the finish just to show support. I cannot imagine how such a victory could be ruined, as it was for so many people. And I also felt as though it was an attack on the running community. I tried to explain it to non runners, and they see it only as an act of terror. I don’t think they see how deeply the running community has been affected.
    I am grateful for your words because I think you explained everything I am feeling. I am proud to be a marathon runner and be a part of the community that has come together the way that it has.
    Thank you.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      April 17, 2013 3:03 PM

      Thank you Brianna for your post. Runners across the world are feeling pain. We run to heal and there is no better medication. Keep striving for your goal to qualify for Boston. This race will continue to be strong and I have no doubt next year will be incredible. Thanks again and keep running.

  • Liz says:
    April 19, 2013 9:50 AM

    Thanks for this. As a runner on the other side of the world and no Bostonian connections, but a 26.2 er, you summed up exactly how it felt to be part of a special community on Monday.i couldn’t wait to get my trainers on on Tuesday. The only thong that made a little sense.

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