In high school, a group of students and I ran at least six miles every day after school. On Saturdays we got together at 8 and ran anywhere between eight and 18 miles. It became ritualistic and the camaraderie we developed would extend far beyond high school.
We were training to run the Los Angeles Marathon. That year our school fielded the largest group of runners and every single one of us completed the LA Marathon, we entered into a club even smaller than the one percent; we entered into the 1/10th of one percent of people who ever ran in a marathon.
On Monday, Boston entered a state of terror when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They were set off to inflict the maximum amount of casualties at peak finishing time. Three people died, one was a child.
The effects were devastating, the horror was real. Almost immediately the Twitter universe reacted.
“Pray for Boston” flooded my Instagram. Videos flooded my Facebook news feed.
It was all too real, all too quickly.
Then I remembered running the Los Angeles Marathon nearly five years ago. Running a marathon is unlike any other sport in the respect that the vast majority of participants compete against nobody but themselves.
Their adrenaline kicks in a mile one.
They form a blister at mile 13.
They hit their wall at mile 18.
They vomit at mile 23.
They hold back the tears at mile 26.2, and they all do this together whether they cross the finish line with a friend or a stranger.
If I learned one thing while scrolling through the photos watching the videos flooding my Facebook newsfeed, I learned that Marathoners are strong, Boston is strong.
In the throng of civilians running away from the danger, there were groups of first responders running towards it. They included police officers brandishing their guns, emergency personal rushing to the sounds of screams, and marathoners running to stop the blood. Runners kept running.
So as the country grieves for Boston, we should acknowledge the fact that we are entering into a new period of madness, a madness which I hope is temporary. Painful stories like Boston are becoming the norm. We’ve seen it at Sandy Hooky, we have seen it in Aurora, Colorado, and we have seen it in Tucson, Arizona.
I could do little to comfort those whose lives were devastated by these events except offer up my prayers and thoughts, but we can all do something for Boston.
On the other side of the country before I heard of the news, I’ve been gathering support at my college to form a club dedicated to running 5ks, 10ks and half marathons but Boston has changed all of that. Thirteen miles is no longer enough, Boston deserves more than that. Boston deserves 26.2 miles.
I will run and dedicate each of those 26.2 miles to Boston. I will dedicate those miles to those whose lives were changed by this act of terror.
I will dedicate those miles to those who were murdered near the finish line.
Boston deserves more than national outrage, it deserves more than our condolences. Boston deserves to stand back up healthier and stronger than ever. Boston deserves another Marathon and it deserves all of us to be there and show our support.