I believe in the sun when it’s not shining, I believe in love even when I feel it not, I believe in God even when he is silent.
My heart breaks for Boston and all of the families forever marred by a senseless and selfish tragedy.
To run a marathon requires dedication, strength, and tenacity. It is an undertaking that spans greater than a few hours on a city’s streets. It reflects a commitment of hundreds of hours of preparation and thousands of hours of thought. It demands guts and grace and the ability to dig deep and to shut off a brain that tells you to stop, to walk, and to come back another day. It requires compassion, compromise, and consideration—of mind, of body, of others.
My heart breaks for the runners who made these sacrifices and should now be celebrating an accomplishment reserved for a select few. They should be limping around in street clothes back home, showing off their medals and jackets, and exchanging their war stories for our praise and admiration.
Instead their war stories are now real war stories.
My heart breaks for the fans that came out to respect and celebrate the success and inspiration of those runners. True allies, who put aside their own time and their own agendas and came out to cheer, to applaud, to embrace, and to share in the joy of one and also of thousands.
God bless marathon fans.
In 2011, I ran the New York City Marathon. Three dear friends flew out from Colorado and cheered me on in the race. They stood there on the sidelines with a bunch of pink and yellow balloons at Mile 6. I swear I must have levitated off the ground and floated for the next mile from the boost in spirit they gave me with such a generous gesture.
There are countless other examples of that solidarity in my own very mundane running career. I will never forget the “You Can Do It!” sign my Mom and Dad held on the sidelines in my first marathon. I will never forget the cowbell my Aunt and Uncle rang for me in St. Louis. I will never forget my husband’s t-shirt that read “Go Kim Go!” in Phoenix, and his hot pink “I Love NYC” hoodie in New York—just so that I could find him in the vast crowd.
The marathon fan is a truly special person. The runner may be putting one foot in front of the other but it is the cheerleader on the sideline who has his hand on her back and hoists her on his shoulders after the finish line. And all the days that follow.
As Will Rodgers famously said: “We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”
My heart breaks for Boston. For the runners. And for all of those who sat on the curb.
Everyone was a hero yesterday.
Sad to say, but we have miles still to go.
Many, many more miles still to go.