Boston Was Horrific for the Running Community. But We Will Still Run.

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Four years later, I finished the Nike British 10k. I took 44th for the women…out of roughly 10,000.

I learned the greatest lessons of my life through running. I learned, very slowly and at times painfully, not to give up on other people in my life, either. I learned that all problems, no matter how horrific they seem, have something to offer you. They have lessons you can learn from.

If you asked any runner what lessons they’ve learned from their sport, you’d hear different variations. But in the end, you would hear the same themes. Ultimately, you would hear they didn’t give up. Ultimately, you would hear that running taught them most of what they know.

Yesterday, 26,000 runners from around the world gathered in Boston. They had with 26,000 different stories to tell about how running took them to be where they are in their lives right now. You would hear the stories of what led them to the Boston Marathon this year. There would be 26,000 different stories of runners who were children 10, 15, 30-something odd years ago, who fell in love with the sport. You would hear of runners who picked it up at 50. You would hear of mothers overcoming cancer to run this race, of sons running after coming home from war. You would meet other runners, just like me, waiting for their bodies to heal, waiting for their Boston to happen. You would meet non-runners -- people who have no intention of ever putting on running shoes, but people who admired the sport.

There should have been 26,000 participants crossing the finish on April 15, finding 26,000 new stories to tell of triumph and overcoming all, along with hundreds of thousands of stories of the adversity and greatness that come along with our sport.

Instead, 26,000 stories -- no, all our stories, really -- were silenced with the blast of an explosion.

Three stories, we know, ended forever.

140 other stories are now forever changed.

No one knows who did it, or why they did it, or what their cause was. And to be frank: I don’t give a flying flip.

You, whoever you are, tried to destroy something that was an amazing force in so many people’s lives. You tried to destroy the stories of thousands of runners, of thousands of their family members and closest friends. You probably didn’t have a connection to the sport. You probably have never put on a pair of running shoes in your life. Running, how it brings people together, families together, communities together, a nation together: That meant nothing to you.

We’re pissed. We’re angry. We’re beyond upset at the horror you would give to so many people by using violence to create power -- a power that is surely void in your own menial mind, because you didn’t bother to work through your stories and chose instead to interfere as we ran through ours.

The lessons running teaches us are too powerful. The places running takes us are too important. And the things that we draw from life through the power of our stride -- they are more powerful than any explosion meant to stop us as runners, or our families, from continuing on as people.

It may take us months to process this. We may grapple to understand what this means. We may initially back down out of a few races. But no distance runner ever gives up on herself. And no distance runner ever gives up on this sport.

We find ways to cross the finish line.

And we will find a way to learn something more powerful from what has happened today than your explosion.

My heart breaks for family, friends and runners of the 2013 Boston Marathon. I cannot express how angry I am that so many stories have been affected by this incident. But I know that if any community can find the strength to create something greater from this horrible event, it’s the long-distance community and the wonderful and amazing families, friends, fans, and appreciators that support the sport.


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