Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I am a Runner!

I am a runner!

I probably will never qualify for the Boston Marathon. It's not even on my list!

Still I am a runner.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch the Boston Marathon live on my computer yesterday.
I watched as Ana Dulce Felix took the women's lead around mile 17 and held it for 6 miles. She was running all alone out in the front.
But she was never alone.
She had thousands of other runners behind her.
I watched as the women's pack caught up to Felix and then passed her.
I watched Rita Jeptoo cross the finish line at 2:26:25.
I watched as 23-year-old Lelisa Desisa ran across the finish line in 2:10:22.
Then I played the race in the background as I did stuff around my house. I was waiting for the announcers to say a few names so I could run over to my computer and watch the runners cross the finish line.
Joan Benoit Samuelson, ran in this year's Boston Marathon to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory. She run the marathon in 2:50:29, setting a world record for her age group.
I was keeping an ear open in case the announcer said Team Hoyt was about to cross the finish line, or Sister Madonna.

Lots of runners were crossing the finish line. Lots more were still out on the road running.

And then it happened.
The unbelievable.
How? Why? Who?

Authorities don't know who set the bombs or why?

Really it doesn't matter.
What matters is that people died.
People were critically injured.
People lost limbs.
People lost.

It is mind-numbing and heart-wrenching.

Several people have sent me emails sharing their feelings about the horrific incident.

I am just going to share some of them with you:

From Charity Miles
Dear Team,

There are no pep talks in this newsletter.

When I first heard the news from Boston, my instinct was to make sure that all of you were okay. I made calls, sent emails, checked Facebook and Twitter.

As far as I can tell, none of you were in the blast.

But we’re not all okay. At the time I am writing this, over 100 people are injured, and 3 are dead. They’re all on Team Charity Miles— whether they used the app or not.

They came to the Boston Marathon— as runners and spectators— for the same reasons we all lace up every day. They came to test themselves, make a difference, cheer loved ones, high-five strangers and celebrate the human spirit.

We know them. We are them.

So today we send them our love. We'll look for ways to support them directly. But, in the meantime, please do some Charity Miles for Achilles and Wounded Warrior Project, two organizations that support people who’ve been wounded in action.

We also send our love to the other runners and first responders who rushed into the blast zone to help the injured. They are true heroes. They give us hope.


From Bob McGee, 5-time Olympic Running Coach:

Good Morning,
I have so many friends & acquaintances who are involved with the Boston Marathon. I have been associated with the race since 1992.
I have already heard from so many on Facebook & liked the notes of those that have messaged, had near misses, helped out, searched long for loved ones & found them...
My heart goes out to you all - this is my community, how dare they mess with us?
Those runners who are part of the solution to the world's problems, spending their time making the world a healthier, happier, more cosmopolitan, more friendly, more inclusive place.
I will never understand; but this I know - these things tighten the bonds, strengthen the resolve, more clearly define that which is good & great about us, about our sense of right & wrong, about what it is to be a citizen of the world that makes life more.
Already the stories of heroism, generosity, support, bravery, care & love are pouring in.
Always, always tragedy will bring out the best in humankind.
Our outrage will fuel this empathy & right action all the more. Our handling of this will once more define us as part of the solution.
With Grace, Gratitude, & Guts...
Bobby McGee
From Linda Leonard Ambard, who ran, but did not finish the Boston Marathon Run.
Today, I was running the Boston Marathon. I was the cheerful girl zipping through the marathon with a swish of her red polka dotted skirt and a huge smile on her face. I ribbed the army people working the course with my call out, "Air Power." I stopped twice to use the potty and I was but a quarter mile from the end when I heard a loud boom, felt the street shake, and started to smell a smell I never smelled before. All hell broke loose. People were screaming and sprinting away from the finish line. The race immediately ended. For me, a girl who was invited to run to honour her soldier who was taken by another terrorist on 27 April 2011, it threw me back into a spot where I immediately felt out of control, that my life was being torn apart, and I stood immobilised sobbing for again the terrorist sought to take yet another thing that matters in my life.

I find joy in running and I have grabbed my life back by running. It is the singular... aspect of my life that allows me to find my faith and to find happiness. I am sitting in total disbelief. How could it be that two potty breaks saved me today? How can it be that as I was running to snub my nose at the terrorist that took Phil, another sought to destroy the hard fought for happiness I have found. It cannot end this way. I am shaking and I am physically ill tonight, but I will pick myself up one faltering step at a time until I can run victorious once again. I cannot let these vile monsters create any more fear in my life. I just can't.

There were heroes today. I met a man who was an instructor at my training these past weeks. He brought his family and found me. He got me back to my hotel. A nurse sat with me as I sobbed my eyes out and shook violently in the Dunkin Doughnuts store. So many people called me. My phone did not have reception, yet the singular two phone calls that got through were phone calls from people who came to get me. My children were terrified and that is what hurts. This event brought fear back into my family--fear of loss and fear of violent acts. How can I fix the hurts in my children when I am right there? I ask for prayers and I ask for some time to process this event. I will find the strength that I fall into with my faith. The terrorist will never EVER maim my heart, my spirit, or my drive to live life out loud. Got that?

And this from Andy Holgate, author of Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman:

I thought that when I woke up this morning that it might have all just been a bad dream, those images that left me speechless and angry last night can't have been real? I mean what sort of evil, sick, twisted bastard would do that sort of thing?
Running isn't political, Running isn't religious, Running cuts across class and wealth - millionaires and peasants are equal when they lace up their running shoes. Running transcends Race. Running unites the world.
Running simply is the purest form of exercise known to man, anyone in any country from any background can run. Runners are a family, we understand one another, we feel for strangers when we see them struggling, a simple nod from a passing stranger as we run on a deserted street lights up our morning, we take immense pride in our achievements whatever they may be, and we love LOVE LOVE that feeling we get in our hearts when we are putting one foot in front of the other. It is a pure love running.
You attack one runner, you attack us all.
That's why the tragic events in Boston cut so deep. Yes I wasn't there but it could have been anywhere. Any marathon, any Ironman, any race. People like you and I going out and doing what they love whilst at the same time raising millions of dollars for the less fortunate. People like my wife and daughter who could have been at the finish line waiting for Daddy to finish. And the bombs went off at 4.09 when normal people would have been in the final few yards of an amazing achievement, their thoughts already on that medal, smiling at the thoughts of those first congratulatory hugs with loved ones, thoughts of happiness, relief and the sense of achieving something wonderful. All stolen away.
We are runners, but more than that we are human beings. We can't let these bastards win. Keep running, keep going to spectate, turn out on the streets of London this weekend, run and cheer your heart out. Don't let fear stop you, that's what they want. We can't let them win.
As a runner and a human, my heart goes out to all that are effected by the tragic events in Boston. I am so grateful that my friends made it through safely, and I mourn those that didn't.
Runners are used to adversity, we are used to pain, this is a whole different level, but we can't let the Bastards win.
Keep on running and stay safe
And lastly from me -
I don't know how much time I have....so I am going to continue to live every second to the best of my ability. I will keep joy and compassion in my heart.
I will put one foot in front of the other.
Photo: We are BOSTON MARATHON. Boston, we LOVE you. SHARE the LOVE!!!
I am a runner!

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