Today in Boston, Patriot’s day, the day of the Boston Marathon was suddenly a day of terror. The world’s oldest annual marathon ended abruptly in fire and fear. Fear. What should have been elation, and a celebration of the spirit of the runner and their triumph was turned to into a panicked scene out of a nightmare. Yet, the runners kept running.
Some had come to the end of 26.2 miles of running, and exhausted as they were, they kept running. Running from the blast of explosives, running to medical tents to seek assistance, running to find friends and family, and running to help others on the course. Some even ran to nearby hospitals to donate blood for the wounded. I find it a very powerful comment on the spirit of not just these athletes, but of the American spirit as well. For many of the volunteers were also running. Running to help. Medical staff and first responders were running, and spectators and citizens were running, looking to offer assistance where ever possible. We see it everywhere, we see it at every tragedy, the spirit of the runner in ourselves. Running toward and not away.
The runner runs to the finish line, not away from the starting line. They run to test their abilities, to improve themselves, or to find a sense of self. Some run for the peace it brings them, and many for the feeling of accomplishment. Some even run for the sense of community that people in the running world find among themselves. I run simply as a joyous expression of the fact that I can run. But whatever the reason, they run. And they will continue running.
A tragedy such as today’s will give us pause. It will break our hearts and leave us to question, “why?” Our Bostonian Patriot’s Day will not forget what happened today, it will be a solemn part of this race forever. But we will still run. Our athletes will run for the same reasons they have always run, and they will run to show that this horrible and tragic event cannot stop them. Our nation will continue to run because as Americans we still have goals to achieve, and we will not be deterred from them. Our communities and families will keep running because we do not stop in the face of tragedy, we keep going. We run toward our goals and not away from our fears.
That is why we run. That is why we will always run.