This year was my first time watching the Boston Marathon in person and it started so beautifully. At mile 23 in Brighton, the sun was shining, runners were smiling (well more like grimacing, but close enough) and no one could be the wiser for what would transpire just five kilometers down the road.
It was exhilarating to snap some photos of the elite men and women, including the first USA finishers, Shalane Flanagan and Jason Hartmann (both 4th in their respective races). It was also fun to watch with friends and family and cheer on one of my close running companions and the members of my track club.
I can’t claim to have been anywhere near the course when the explosions happened. My wife and I left around 2 p.m. and were oblivious to the turn of events until concerned text messages and phone calls began pouring in from friends and family who knew we were in Boston watching the race. The outpouring of thought and concern was touching. We quickly tuned into the local radio station and learned about the two explosions.
We drove in disbelief as the reports of deaths and injuries came across the airwaves. We ourselves are looking forward to finally running for the first time next year and couldn’t fathom this happening at an event so close to home (physically and metaphorically). After the radio reports, we began our own onslaught of concerned text message sending and were happy to hear no one we knew was hurt.
It is tragic that someone would take what is, to many, the pinnacle of the racing calendar and transform it into an event of horrendous suffering. That someone would make the streets of Boston look like war-torn Baghdad is (was) unfathomable. Whether it was a terrorist trying to prove something or just another crazy person on the loose, it was a cowardly act and I hope that justice comes swiftly. My heart breaks for those families who lost loved ones; and to those who are injured, I pray a speedy recovery.
As for myself, I look forward to running next year, perhaps more than ever, as a way to show that we are made of sturdier stuff than any adversary might believe.