April 15, 2013

There Is No "Why"

I’ve pretty much been shaking all afternoon since I heard the news about Boston. While I didn’t break from work to watch the actual race, this hit me hard enough that I immediately canceled my meetings, headed for a break room, and turned up the volume on CBS’ live coverage.

There was limited camera footage of what happened (or at least, limited relevant footage vs aftermath?) so CBS kept this one clip on a loop – and it made me tear up every time. A guy in a gray shirt with “Boston is for Runners”, leaping into action and running over to someone injured; simultaneously, a guy in a red shirt next to him turns to an injured woman crying on the sidelines and immediately starts ripping his shirt off to serve as a makeshift bandage. Even now that I’ve stopped watching TV, it replays in my mind – a picture of the horror that people endured and how immediate the reaction was of runners to help.

While watching the TV coverage, they interviewed a runner who asked, “What does the marathon have to do with what’s going on in the world?” Exactly – all of us are asking why. Why target runners/spectators? But the answer isn’t that the running community did anything. No one deserves something like this, and it’s just as senseless as the attacks at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, or more recently, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. There isn’t any why, and it’s so scary to think that something like this could happen at any time and to anyone.

@SaraMechell: As a runner, I feel like someone just attacked my friends. As a person, I’m just horrified.

@DirtDawg50k: Whoever did this attacked the whole running community. Pace or distance are irrelevant. We are all runners. We are family.

@LarissaDaltonS: Broken. Runners are a big, positive supportive family & I feel like my large, extended family has been torn apart. #BostonMarathon

@katieRUNSthis: Someone DID just attack your family. All runners are “family”

Those tweets echo exactly how I feel. The bomb went off not far off from when I crossed the finish line at Boston a few years ago. It went off not far away from when many of my friends this year had either already crossed or were about to cross the finish line. It could have been any of us, and it could have been any of our loved ones.

@higdonmarathon: Sadly, those who took the biggest hit at #BostonMarathon were those who cheer us, spectators standing beside the street. God love them all.

I’m trying to get back to work, but it’s hard not to let my thoughts stray. True, no one I knew was hurt – but as the tweets above say, my “running family” was attacked, and it’s hard not to take that personally and still feel the impact.

So I’m trying to focus on the few positive moments that have come out of this. Watching that guy whipping his shirt off to help someone who was hurt; hearing that some runners crossed the finish line and kept running straight to Mass General to donate blood*; seeing the long list of Boston residents who have offered up their homes to runners… those are what I’m trying to focus on.
*No need to rush out and donate; the Red Cross has since announced that they’ve gotten so much blood that they don’t need anymore right now.

I’m grateful that more people weren’t injured/killed (although even one is far too many). That the bomb found on the bridge where all the press stood didn’t go off. That Obama is vowing that “we will find out who did this, and we will hold them accountable.” And that the runner community is banding together to support each other. We may “compete” in races against one another, but this community is one where we cheer each others’ wins and mourn each others’ losses as our own. Today, that’s more evident than ever.

Photo credit: MeganSarahJ

3 thoughts on “There Is No "Why"”

  1. I dislike seeming like an unfeeling, callous, insensitive brutish person (especially when anyone who knows me for who I am knows that I am not), but there is a reason why.

    And I don’t want to be a doomsday person, but I promise you that in the next nine months the rate of tragic evens like these will only increase at a rapid rate.

    But thank you for sharing those Tweets. Between all the tweets I have seen on various websites (espn, flotrack, letsrun,…) I am more convinced than ever that a free and peaceful society will be directly realized by the proclivity of social media.

  2. It made me so sad to hear about the tragedy at Boston. I definitely agree with what you said about runners being a family, a community – and I think we will all have been hit hard by this news, regardless of whether we were directly involved in the marathon this time. On a positive note, it’s really heart warming to see how people band together in times like these, and rush to help others.

  3. Someone entered our home and attacked our family. There is no reason and we will never understand. But the answer is clear, we stand united, we keep running, we support each other and we show no fear. We must protect this house and the sanctity of our sport.

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