On Boston

I’m hesitant to post this – the blogosphere will soon be awash with similar posts. What can I add to the debate? Nothing. But I can’t NOT write about what happened in Boston today. I will say nothing that thousands of other running bloggers won’t say – probably more eloquently than I can. But I HAVE to write about it.

My thoughts are with the families of those who were killed. And those who were injured, and their families. And those who were there and are shell-shocked by what they saw around them. And the volunteers and emergency crew who piled straight in. My heart is there, with them.

Today’s bombing reminded me a lot of the London bombings in 2005. I had just (resentfully) left it to move to the North, and when news came of the bombs on the underground, I felt furious. This was MY city. MY stomping ground. I took it personally. And today, I was shocked, then heartbroken then furious about the Boston bombs. I am taking this personally too. It struck me clearly for the first time…this was my TRIBE under attack. I didn’t realise how much I identify myself as a runner. I do. And as such, these were MY people under attack.

I will never run Boston. Mainly because I don’t run marathons, but also because frankly I’d never be fast enough to qualify. But some runners whose blogs I read or who I follow on twitter…THEY qualified. And they worked SO hard. This was the culmination of months or years of dedication and hard work. This was the big moment that made it all worthwhile. Their well-deserved moment of glory. I was so excited for them and couldn’t wait to see how they did.

I’ve come to love finish lines. Mainly because I can stop running, but also because that’s where I can bask in the joy of achievement, I can show off my medal, sweatily hug my boys and enjoy the cumulation of all the hard work. Finishing lines, even when I’m disappointed by my time, are always happy places. And then there’s today’s finish line – a place of blood, carnage, confusion and bewilderment. The contrast is too much.

Running is such a personal endeavour – few of us really compete against other runners. Most of us compete against ourselves, and against the clock. And because it’s so personal, this attack is personal too. I read on a news report that they were dealing with ‘severed limbs and burned children’. Severed limbs – the limbs probably that we runners RUN with. And burned children. SERIOUSLY??? One of the dead was 8 years old. My head is full of thoughts of the Husband and the Dude, faithfully cheering just before each finish line. Cheers of ‘Go Mummy, run faster’. And I think of all those hundreds of children in Boston, craning their necks for a parent and shouting those same words, being caught up in this.

I cannot imagine why anyone would want to bomb a marathon – I guess soon we will find out both who they were and why they did so. But in the meantime, I claim this tribe of runners as my own, and I grieve with them.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. On 9/11 -they attacked my city-In Newton they attacked my profession-teaching and today they attacked my passion-running. I take all of this personally now and feel for those runners and spectators who all work so hard for this-and then I think of the amputees-what a cruelty. I’m running Chicago, my first marathon, on my 50th birthday-I have no fear-and do it for everyone affected today.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Therese, I’m so sorry. You go and run your heart out for those who can’t run any more. x

  2. Nic J says:

    One of the few times I’ve wished that cameras were not allowed at the finish lines. Seeing that blast nearly brought back my breakfast. Difficult to eat muesli with a sob lump in your throat. But it’s because of disgusting acts like this that the running tribe will be ultimately stronger as a unit. Callous, cowardly acts like this will only unite us. Lets hope London goes ahead this week, more secure, but otherwise unaffected except by a stronger spirit and determination to prove victory wins over fear. xx

    1. Cathryn says:

      Utterly grim, isn’t it. London HAS to go ahead. It has to.

  3. Bean says:

    Well said. This is a great tribe to a part of and I have never been prouder of the human spirit and the ability of others to be kind to each other and help when needed.

  4. Cathryn says:

    I agree. Hugs. Go and run your marathon for all of us!

  5. Still days later, I can’t get it out of my mind. Really hoping that they are able to solve the mystery of who did this today.

  6. Kristen says:

    This was a beautiful post. Everyone adds their own feelings and thoughts to these tragic events. I am so glad you expressed yours.

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