to clear our heads
to pray and be with God
to feel joy
to feel powerful
to lose weight
to gain muscle
to be healthy
to run away from something
to run towards something
to be challenged
to escape reality
to find reality
to get a runner’s high
to find peace
just because and so much more
I’ve been running for quite some time now. Running isn’t for everyone. I’m learning longer distance running (coming from a middle distance background) and I’m beginning to like the distance as well as earn a great respect for marathon runners.
As I was contemplating my run tonight, thoughts of the events in Boston weighed on my heart. Here I am deciding how long I want to run while others’ lives are crushed.
I continued sifting through the news to find out what had happened. The bombs that went off near the finish line at the Boston Marathon are devastating. People were rallying and prepared to search the runners’ faces to find the person they were there to cheer on. Cheering for a person at a marathon is something amazing. Really, you have nothing to do with their training, but you feel so very important the day they are completing the challenge and you are cheering them on. Runners coming in the chute, ready to celebrate with families were met with smoke and devastation. A moment of excitement and pride turned into that of fear and chaos. How could people do this? People have died, and many more are in critical condition. Many were probably married and had children. Some may have been runners themselves; others just supporters.
As I heard on the radio and received texts about the event, I realized people were asking if we knew people there, and if they were okay. What I really wanted to say was yes, we all know each other; we’re runners. Aren’t we all connected in some way? This is a sport where you lay everything in front of you and you feel every moment of a run. Only the strong-minded can do it.
Marathoners are a different breed all together. Marathoning isn’t for the weak-hearted. To be able to train running 18-20+ miles leading up to an event takes a strong mind and heart. This breed is truly special. A marathon isn’t something you do, just to say you did it. It’s something you do to prove to yourself. Would anyone want to willingly run until toe nails fall off, chafing begins to bleed, you nearly poop your pants (let’s be real, people… it happens) and your muscles feel like they are going to give out? Yes. Some do it for that PR… when you look back at your pace and realize that you rocked that run and you still feel great. Most say: “I don’t want to.” Many claim: “There’s no way I could.” For the few who stay silent, patiently prepare, grind through the fear…the doubt…the pain; those who finish…receive the greatest reward: confidence, humility, drive, character …. and pride. Nobody can take marathon feelings from you. Nobody can take the feeling of an amazing run from you, and it’s only something that other runners understand.
If you are a runner, or a supporter of a runner it is almost a 99% guarantee that you will nod/wave/smile at each other in passing. It’s because runners share the same spirit: a runner’s heart. That heart is strong and mighty. It is what gets runners out and running in the brutal heat or in the freezing cold. It is what carries a runner in the early weekend morning hours, when most are still sleeping. And that was the strongest thread I had tying me to the people who are affected in Boston. So the truth is, yes, yes… every runner knows them.
Whether you run marathons, a 5k, a half marathon or a mile…. You’re all still connected by the same heart that drives your feet to the pavement. Running is the moment when all judgment goes away, the world stops, and you have no worries except how fast you want to go.
My heart goes out to the families affected by the events in Boston. Please find some time in your day to say a prayer for them.