Monday, April 15, 2013

The vunerability of a runner

 Well today was one of those days that doesn't make sense. 9-11, Super storm Sandy, Newtown elementary, today. These days will happen and unless you are directly or even indirectly affected it feels like a kick in the gut instead of a shovel to the face.

 I heard the first reports regarding Boston and immediately thought "Here we go again." I also started hoping that it was some weird power issue like the monitoring equipment was overloaded. Since it was at the finish line I hoped it was something like that.

 When I first saw the video footage I knew it was a cowardly act and not an equipment malfunction. I read somewhere that people were pissed that the runners who were at the finish line when the explosion went off that they continued on and some of them were checking their watches.

 I feel like defending the runners for a moment. First of all, getting into Boston is a hard thing to do. You must qualify and the times are not forgiving. It is a premiere marathon so all of those who are running it have sacrificed a lot to get there. I have only run a couple of marathons, slowly at that so I have a strong admiration for anyone who qualifies for Boston.

 Whether you are running a 5k or a 50k when you know that you are close to the finish your adrenaline picks up and even though you a mile ago you thought that you couldn't even pick your feet up for another step you start to run again because pretty soon you are going to see the finish line and that gets you running a little faster and then you see it, the end, you get to that banner and you are done. Legs that are spent and now sprinting, you get tunnel vision, all you see is directly in front of you. When I am finishing a race everything fades away. My feet don't feel like they are even touching the ground, All I hear is a swooshing, and all I see is the finish, all I want is to be done. So when I saw those runners finishing as if they ignored the explosion I understood it, now, I also saw the terrified looks on the faces of the runners who were seconds behind. They has to run past the explosion, they had to see the smoke, the carnage, the injured. Their experience was a lot more traumatic, they also ran faster than they thought possible over the finish line but they were running from a nightmare. Finishing Boston should be a running highlight, a crowning moment showcasing all the hard work that a runner put in. The thing about running a marathon is that if your not in the running community you don't really care. Running is a solitary act, and even when you are with a group the only control you have is yourself.

 This is what I mean by the vunerability of a runner. Look at all of the people who were spectating today, none of then did anything to the runners yet they easily could have. When runners are on the road there is that risk of getting hit by a car, fortunately that is rare. When you run a race you strip everything away, you are raw, exposed, and when you are finishing a race you let go of everything and you do this because of an inherent trust of your fellow man and today shattered that.

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