Charity runs. Remembrance runs. T-shirts. Giving. Praying. Awareness.
The running community has done a lot since the Boston Marathon Bombings in April.
But I’m not 100% sure that the bombings should be about running. Or the runners.
As we know, no Boston Marathon runners were killed in the bombings. I’m not sure if any were injured critically or experienced life-threatening or -changing injuries. To my knowledge, there were not. If I’m wrong, then, of course the story is different. But on the surface, the people most physically effected were standing on the sidelines. They were spectators. A son. A student. And a supporter.
They hadn’t trained for something for years and years. They hadn’t gone a grueling 23.something miles before the bombings occurred. They were there to cheer others — some family members — on who had.
The way that the running community has responded has been awesome. Truly awesome and truly indicative of the people who make up the running community. But I don’t want to lose sight of the people at the heart of the issue. And I surely do not want runners to feel like the attention has to be on them because this tragedy took place at a run. It is definitely unfortunate that the crowd that would be drawn by the run was what motivated the bombers. But I don’t think they had the running community in mind when they made up their plan. If the running community wants to claim something having to do with the Boston Marathon bombing, it’s extremely indirect and minute compared to what the families of the actual victims are facing. And I don’t see them going out for a remembrance run.
So how do we as runners support our supporters? If it’s easy for you to pay homage by running or wearing something or saying something, then that’s how you choose to remember it, and that’s fine. But honestly, the biggest way to support the real victims is to never, ever quit. Don’t stop supporting events like these. In fact, further support them. Donations are the best way. But not quitting is a huge, impactful “F YOU” to the type of people who chose to use this venue as a terrorist attack. And a huge promise to the people who enjoyed attending them. Run more races than you’ve ever run. And attend even more just to spectate. And say “thank you, thank you, thank you” to anyone who has ever gone to a race just to watch you run.
And always keep this story alive. CBS Boston has a great post up with many peoples’ stories.
I can’t wait for this-coming April. I hope it’s the highest-attended Boston Marathon ever.