Monday, April 15, 2013

The Finish Line

By now you all know what happened in Boston today.

How many times have we all run races with our loved ones waiting for us at the finish line? It never once occurred to me that any of us could be in danger. I don’t know that I’ll ever view any finish line, especially that one in Boston, the same again. I was not there today, but I was there two years ago today. My family waited for me at that finish line like so many other families today. I took ownership of that finish line because I worked so hard to get there. It holds a special place for me.

Horrible things keep tarnishing and hurting people, places and experiences we love. And, now, terror has touched running in a profound and new way.

We all know what the finish line of a race symbolizes -  pride, achievement, gratitude, fortune, happiness, relief, and hard work. The finish line is where we reunite with those that care about us, and where we share our hard sought accomplishments.  That line means so much.

To watch that older gentleman, just feet from the finish line, get blown off his feet and to the ground was devastating (amazingly, I found out that this man, Bill Iffrig – 78 years old, not only crossed the finish line, but he did so second in his age group and walked 1 km back to his hotel room. I love the determination of runners of all ages).

For that line to become a place of horror and carnage is surreal, disgusting, saddening, maddening.

Why, mom, does this keep happening?”

I have no clue what to tell my kids about our world anymore.

My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Boston today, especially those who passed, the injured, the traumatized, the scared.

Many have said the day of the Boston Marathon is the best day that the city experiences all year. I am so sorry today is now a part of Boston’s history. I’ll tell you one thing – this makes me want to work my butt off to get back there again. Stand up, fear not, be strong.

SUAR

67 comments:

  1. Well said Beth. If there is one thing I know to be true is that the tribe of folks known as runners are strong and resilient and courageous people. I cried most of the afternoon as more news has come out of Boston. I'm sure I'll cry more tonight and probably have a few glasses of wine to help numb myself. But I can't wait to go for a run tomorrow, not only because it will help heal my heart but because I want to run for those who can't.

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    1. I could not agree more: strong, resilient, courageous.

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  2. You said it better than I could.

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  3. So true Beth...Blessed be, Boston... :(

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  4. I have not had the desire to run the Boston Marathon, but now I feel it stirring within. We can not let terrorists such as these get in the way of the millions of truly wonderful people in the world. Today, I mourn this loss in our great running community, the loss of our feeling of safety when we're just running, proving to myself that I can. Tomorrow, we all start the slow healing process that comes with tragedy. In a few weeks, I will be standing at the start/finish line of the Pittsburgh Marathon, volunteering and fervently praying that we are safe there, but I will not stop what I love and let evil win!

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  5. Well said! I just registered for my first full, I won't let them stop me. My heart cries out for the people in Boston today.

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  6. Thank you Beth, eloquently put.

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  7. You said it girlfriend.

    I'm a Bostonian and a runner and I'm very angry. But I'm also heartened to know that many of the runners went straight to the hospital to donate blood to the injured.

    That's the running community for you.

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  8. Beautifully put, thanks for this post.

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  9. Spot on as usual Beth. I ran tonight because it felt like the best way to honor those who were touched by this first hand

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  10. Beautifully put. Thanks. Tomorrow morning I will run in silence for Boston, but I will run.

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  11. That was my exact first thought. I want to go back.

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  12. <3 When I talked to my mom this afternoon, she mentioned how nervous she is for me to go run MCM this year. I am angry and upset that she now has to WORRY that I'm going to be okay at an event that is one of the healthiest, most disciplined activities possible. I'm also more motivated to run an incredible marathon and now have just another reason to run hard remembering those who couldn't finish, were injured, or those who now rest in peace! They can't take this away from us. Runners are a strong community that come back even stronger!

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    1. I'm pretty nervous to run MCM...huge marathon in the heart of DC. I hate that something like this makes me afraid to do something I love.

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    2. My mom said the same thing. It will be my first marathon, and I'm so excited - and now she's totally worried about it. I, too, am upset about this. I just want to run! This whole thing just makes me sad beyond words...

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    3. I'm running the Marine Corps Historic Half next month. I have to say I'm a little worried (for myself and those I love who will be waiting for me at the finish line) but I will run and won't let fear stop me.

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  13. You are the only one that has mentioned it so far, but it was the first thing I noticed when I saw the video: the older man that fell due to the explosion. So close to the finish line.

    I WILL be there: 2015.

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  14. Born and bred Bostonian, now a Colorado resident. I grew up along the route of the Boston Marathon and you are right, it is one of the greatest days. We would set up a water station, our neighbors would drag out the hose to spray over the runners, and my siblings and I would sit out until the LAST runner would pass so that everyone was cheered for. It was a day of celebration and community. My heart is broken, as a runner, as a Bostonian, as a human being. These words, "Stand up, fear not, be strong."....yes, these words are what we need to focus on. Thank you, SUAR!

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  15. Exactly! It's soo soo horrible. But we cannot let some horrible person or organization or FEAR take away our freedom.

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  16. Exactly Beth! This makes me fear for the safety of my loved ones cheering me on more than it does my own personal safety. I can't imagine harm coming to them because of an event I'm running. It's devastating.

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  17. I cried today. Boston runners are my heroes.

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  18. Each time that footage is replayed on TV, my eyes are glued to that man. I hope he's okay.

    It's such a sad day.

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  19. This one really hit home. I think back to Chicago 2011, my whole family waiting for me near the finish line, the crowd was huge...I was one of those "middle of the packers"...this could have happened there...could have happened anywhere! WTH is wrong with people?! There can be no justice for these people. We have to stop this nonsense.

    Run on!

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  20. This was too close for comfort: I knew so many people there today, and was there myself last year. Just keeping families and the injured in my prayers and hoping the many hours of film coverage from the area reveals the criminals.

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  21. I honestly don't have any words right now... it's just so horrible and I can't imagine what all those people are going through right now! :( My heart goes out to every single one of them...

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  22. It's horrifying and makes me physically ill. My friends and people I love (including my 8 year old daughter) stood on that sidewalk last year to support me. I too, would never have thought they were in danger....some things will never be the same.

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  23. I have been so ill all afternoon, after receiving a phone call and numerous texts from people there, trying to figure out what was going on before we could find it on the news. I woke up this morning sad that I wasn't there today. I will go to bed devastated, but thankful that I was not there, feelig like a loser because I didn't requalify. Last year, I crossed the finish line at approximately 2:45pm, so my family could have been in danger. I had my husband, children, and parents to support me. I have a marathon in less than two weeks, and I am going to get me another BQ!!!!!!!

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  24. I just came across this article:
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/runner-bill-iffrig-78-finishes-boston-marathon-after-falling-when-bomb-exploded/story-e6frg6n6-1226621500910
    Which describes the runner you mentioned as 78 year old Bill Iffrig from Washington, and states that he went on to finish the race.
    (sorry, I do not know how to shorten the link)

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    1. I figured out how to shorten the link URL:
      http://tinyurl.com/ce64e2r

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    2. So amazing. Thatnk you for sharing and I am so comforted tonight to know that he is okay. Even BETTER than okay.

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  25. I can tell you that the marathon IS one of the best days of the year. I lived in Boston for 4 years and was very much a NON RUNNER....but I watched the race....I cheered for those that were triumph...I cheered for those that were struggling...I cheered for those that tried but didn't quite make it...I cheered for everyone....Today I do not live in Boston but now I am a runner and I have a better sense of the moment that these runners were seeking...I hurt so much when I think of what the people in Boston are going through...the pain the injured and the families of the victims are feeling...I hurt that this day will forever be changed....it's just not right...

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  26. Someone just lit a fire under the wrong group of people. Runners are unique and wonderful community, and despite my slowness - I am proud to be part of it.

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  27. There is no way to try to understand this. But one thing is certain- we sure as hell are never gonna stop.

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  28. For all those impacted by this horror, I want to run even more. Screw you, terrorists! My name is Chelsea, and I am a runner.

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  29. Well said. And I for one will not be slowing down! Runners unite!

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  30. my heart is so heavy today. never before have i wanted to put on my laces and go for a run more than i do right now.

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  31. Beautifully said. I'll be out running more and more for those that can't.

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  32. I have written and re-written several attempts at a comment, but they all sound stupid.

    In the end, deepest sympathies to everyone affected. Something that we love, that is a challenging but healthy and fulfilling thing has been turned into tragedy.

    Tonight I will run for Boston. And although my milage is pretty low (4-6 kms a few times a week), the news this morning (I'm in Australia) made me finally decide.

    Tomorrow I will be researching races and training programs.

    I WILL run a marathon.

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  33. I'm a born and bred Bostonian- and very proud of it. I had a friend running yesterday, and her husband/family were near the finish line. I feel awful for them- for everyone. I feel rocked to my core.

    I have never run a full marathon, and now I never wanted to do something so bad. F* terrorism.

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  34. I got goosebumps reading your final sentences.

    It's such an odd thing to happen at something so benevolent like running.

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  35. "Stand up, fear not, be strong" <-Perfect. I would add - toe the line. Runners do NOT live in fear.

    One image that kept running (and has since been removed, making me think it was exactly what I thought it was) - a woman was holding someone's calf and an average guy was walking by. She said something to him, he looked down, and TOOK OFF HIS SHIRT TO USE AS A TURNIQUET. That right there spoke volumes about who we are as runners and Americans. (I don't think the leg she was holding was still attached to someone - which is why they're no longer running that clip). I want to kiss that guy for giving me hope in humanity in the midst of terror.

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  36. Went for a run today in my Boston Marathon shirt for 2009. My heart is heavy and I am very angry that I have to choose between doing big marathons which I love and having my children fear that mommy won't come home if she does NYC or Boston again. While I can easily say I won't live in fear and I am not afraid, I am a mom first. I hate that my children now have to fear because I want to run a marathon.

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    1. My 8-year-old is very anxious that they "catch the bad guy" before I run my first half in less than 3 weeks. What do I tell him? I don't want him to fear for me.

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  37. I think that is exactly what we need to be doing...supporting our fellow humans and trying to put back on our sneakers to hit the streets again, running with determination and courage.

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  38. Today I'm running and every time I run will think of the Boston Marathon. I don't want to be a peripheral victim. I want to run hard, not scared.

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  39. My first marathon is in just 39 days(Buffalo), and you better believe I will be thinking of Boston every time I run between now and then, and likely after. I am now making my goal finish time 4:09. I didn't really have one before, but the way training has been going I was secretly aiming for somewhere between 4:15-4:30, but now I will aim for 4:09 to honor those lost. So incredibly sad. This just hits home in so many ways. My husband and kids have been at countless finish lines for me, and I should not have to worry about them while running because they are there to support me - it's just wrong. But I will keep on running.

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  40. My heart goes out to the victims in yesterday's attack, it is so very sad and I am still in shock over the events.

    We will run on!! The terror acts of few cannot stop the love and determination of many. I am proud of the people who helped someone; in many cases complete strangers. To those who offered a helping hand, a place of shelter, money, food or even a shoulder to cry on -- you are my heros.

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  41. I'm wearing a race shirt today and will wear one each day the rest of this week to remember Boston. And I will go for a run. It's how we process and handle life. One of the things I love about runners is that we are a COMMUNITY, whether we run a 4-minute mile or a 14-minute mile. We support and encourage one another, and together we WILL stand up, fear not, be strong.

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  42. My 8 year old was very upset by this. He commented that he'd been at so many finish lines, waiting for me to cross, and it could've happened anywhere. I seriously doubt this kind of thing happens at the local 4th of July 5 miler, but his point was taken to heart. It could've and did happen anywhere. My heart broke a little for him today. He's very insightful.
    We are a community from all walks of life, bound together by one common goal, crossing the line. Lots of us don't care about what place we're in, as long as we finish. Never in any other type of sport can you see the breadth of ability, the vast diversity of backgrounds, ethnicities, both sexes coming together to do one common thing. Religions don't matter, there's no height requirements, no weigh-ins, no judgments. Only friends, united by the common interest in putting one foot in front of the other, getting to the line, cheering each other on, laughing at great signage on the course, keeping each other motivated to move on and finish, waiting to see our loved ones at the end.
    But, I am now, more than ever, determined to get a half marathon under my belt. I start training on Wednesday, looking forward to getting a half done, then on to a full.
    Amy P. Philly Runner.

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  43. Well said. I wasn't there but many friends were and my heart is heavy. I have written a tribute to Martin Richard, the 8 year old who lost his life here http://themoosepyjamachronicles.blogspot.com

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  44. Thank you for writing this! It describes the runner's feelings of yesterdays events. My own plan was to run harder, faster, and stronger - because no one will take the love of running out of me. The running community is amazing and a resilient bunch. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it! Love to you all during this healing time!

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  45. Great post as always. I was slower to get there (damn newbie), but I love how quickly so many runners have moved past the bitterness and onto the importance of perseverance and positivity in our sport. Truly an amazing community and I feel lucky to have found it…and joined it.

    I also feel like everybody just started training for Boston. I’m four miles closer today.

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  46. Thanks, Beth, for your thoughts on this. Remember, if we don't run, they win.

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  47. I love running and I love target shooting. Today runners learned what the shooting community have been dealing with for years. Every time evil takes place guns have been in the news, yet its really not about guns its about evil. Banning guns will not stop crime any more than banning running. Why can't we live in peace?

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    1. If any number of people were being killed by being trampled by runners then maybe this comment would make sense. But really there is no connection at all between the bombing in Boston and the ridiculous gun control debate in this country. None. But I would like to live in peace.

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  48. As a military wife, DC area resident, and an entered runner in the MCM 2013, I will tell you what we will do....we will run. Runners are fierce, strong, and determined. We run in the cold, the heat, the wind, the rain. We run through pain, fatigue, worry, the feeling of "I can't". We are individuals competing against ourselves, our desire to be better, to beat the clock or a personal best, or maybe even just the guy next to us. But as individuals we are all members of the same club. A club made up of those who can't be beaten, who will give our all, who will try again. We will run. We will run for Boston, for those who lost their lives, for those hurt. We will run.

    Each time I step out the door, shoes on, ready to pound the pavement...I say a little prayer for Sherry. And now I say a little prayer for Boston.

    I will hold my head high in DC in October...and with everyone else...we will run.

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    1. thank you for saying this.

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