I’ve been running since I was 12, so for 15 years. From junior high through college, I was a sprinter, but after college I took up distance running. After a few half marathons, last October I ran my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. I remember so many different feelings and responses as I crossed the finish line: complete exhaustion, elation, and just being generally emotional. At about mile 15 I remember fighting back tears of the WTF-was-I-thinking variety, and at mile 25.5 of joy. I was going to do it, I was going to finish a marathon and under my goal time.
Running is a divisive thing: many either love or hate it. For me it’s forged friendships, taken me around the country, and provided me the comfort and clarity during hard times. B recently took up running. Some days he listens to lecture while he pounds the pavement. Other days, he just hits trails and let the stress-relieving powers of running work their magic.
That’s partially why this week’s news seemed to hit so hard. Running, for many, is a place of solace. A place to clear your mind, to conquer challenges outside of daily life, to feel a rush of endorphins. And races are a celebration of those things: a celebration of the love of the sport, of camaraderie between you and your fellow enthusiasts, and a celebration of accomplishment of finishing.
Runners, especially those at the caliber of running The Boston Marathon, tend to be strong-minded, tough and resilient. Now more than ever.