This is my city. My library at Copley Square with the beautiful courtyard. My land of parks scattered with historical plaques and uneven bricks. My running trails, my ancient subway. My marathon.
This morning, my mom and I went running for our half marathon training. We had 10 miles to do – my longest run yet. When I mapped it out last night, my route had us going along the Charles, through the city – and either starting or finishing at the marathon so we could cheer on the friends and strangers who were taking on those daring 26.2 miles this year. When she got here today, we decided to scrap that plan – we would instead head downtown and run along the river and then home. We would cheer on the runners in our hearts and with our steps. And when we got home, we would head over to see how our friends were doing. But at the end, we were so exhausted that we stayed in my neighborhood for a celebratory late lunch, and we had just returned to my apartment when we heard the terrible news from Copley Square.
The people who were crossing the finish line at that hour – 4 hours+ into the race – were not elites. They weren’t in it for the glory. They were in it for charities, to prove something to themselves and to the world. And the people who were there cheering them on were heroes – the people who don’t just clap for the professional runners who make the sport exciting, but who instead opt to be there for the people who need them most, who need that cheer to propel them across that finish line.
The idea that someone would take this day, this remarkable moment of people coming together and surrounding each other with friendly competition, tributes to athleticism and endurance, testaments to challenges and triumphs – and turn it into a tragedy baffles me. We are better than this, humanity is better and we can do better. The pictures of people running toward the blast, helping runners, picking each other up off the ground, prove this. I am grateful that my loved ones are safe following this terrible violence, but I know there are people still waiting for news or dealing with this tragedy personally.
What we lost today at that finish line was a sense of security, balance, and peace that should come from a unifying event like this. But what we gained was resolution – we will look after each other, we will carry on, and together, we will take on the evil in the world and drive it out with good because really, there’s no other choice.
If you’re in Boston for the marathon and need help, please leave a comment below and I’ll do what I can!