If you know me, you know that I love running. You probably also know that I have run 6 Marathons; two in Hawaii and I have run my beloved Baltimore Marathon four times. And if you, dear reader, know anything about marathons, you probably are aware that to run 26.2 miles is not easy and it’s possible that you cannot even begin to fathom performing such a feat.
I am here to tell you that it is extremely difficult. My first marathon was my best and every succeeding marathon has been more difficult than the previous race. What makes it harder is that the body, as it gets older, has less elasticity and due to that waning of physical power, almost regardless of training, it is just more challenging. What takes the place of the body is YOU. Running a marathon is about the power of the human intellect and spirit. It is an amazing measure of perseverance. This is why so many people take up running after great challenges. So many people have survived cancer or heart disease or have suffered through great emotional traumas like the deaths of loved ones or use running as part an emotional treatment like those of us who have fought through addiction problems. Whatever moves and motivates the runner all comes together when they decide to run an actual marathon.
People run to support others and of the millions of people that have run marathons, millions more have supported them by forgiving them the time spent preparing for the marathon, helping them pay for and provide transportation to & from the race AND by being there at the race to cheer them on and welcome them across the finish line when thankfully it’s all over and a sweet soreness takes over the body for the next few days. Marathons are one of the most beautiful ways in which we can express our love for ourselves and celebrate the wonderfulness of being human with thousands of strangers and a handful of loved ones.
And this is what is just so diabolical about the Boston Marathon bombing. This attack, whether it was part of bomber’s original thought process or not, was an attack on human goodness. I fully believe that there was probably a political or societal motivation behind the attack. Who knows? No one has claimed responsibility and it doesn’t really matter. It was an attack upon the celebration of the glory of being human. Of course, those injured and maimed by the blast were quickly aided by fellow runners, fellow spectators and medical and police personnel. All the footage shows people helping people. Compassion and empathy just pouring out. The celebration of the glory of being human, indeed!
I had decided to run the Baltimore Marathon again this year about a month ago and I can guarantee that it will be even harder than the last time, but I will be carried by my strength and the love, empathy and compassion of my amazing wife and I will be buoyed by the thousands who line the streets of Baltimore, volunteering and cheering and celebrating and I will keep Boston with me, close to my heart.That’s Anna meeting me at 33rd Street during the 2009 Baltimore Marathon.