Friday, 19 April 2013

Our Heroes

Leigh and I visited Boston on our way to New Brunswick in May of 2008 when I was pregnant with Lucas.  We were there for about 36 hours.  We strolled around Boston Common and Harvard, dined at Atlantic Fish, and checked out Quincy market.  We had a wonderful time, and have always vowed to return.  We were not runners yet.  We did not personally know anyone running in the Boston Marathon on Monday.  As we are running our first full marathon next month we have never qualified to run the Boston Marathon.  However in the spirit of Yoda...

...Someday I WILL qualify.  That is my goal.  Do, or do not.  There is no try.  It may not be until I am 35, or 40 (or maybe 45), but that is my goal.

So given our minimal connection to Boston, the question remains...Why do Leigh and I both feel so deeply connected to this tragedy.  I feel like it has wriggled it's way into my brain and my heart, and there it sits.

Dimity McDowell, co-author of Run Like a Mother, and Train Like a Mother, summed it up well here in her post titled Undone. "Our lifestyle puts us right there."  We know first hand the work, the effort, the sacrifice that has gone into training for that day.  Our little boys have waited with family, steps from the finish line to cheer us to the end.  We can imagine the feeling of panic that the runners must have endured as they approached the area and realized what had happened.  The panic that would set in if you didn't know if your kids, or your parents, or your siblings were ok.  We look into the eyes of little Martin Richard and we see the love his parents have for him, the love we have for our little boys.  We are right there.

She says:

       "Undone that some crazy people or person, in an effort to make his or her cause noticed, hurt
         our running family, the most generous, kind community I've ever been a part of."

And that is exactly why this has taken up residence in my brain and heart.  These people we don't know, they are our people, they are part of our world wide running family, they are our heroes.

They are the middle of the packers, the squeakers who just qualified, just made it in to run their bucket list race.  They are living the accomplishment of a goal so many of us share as runners.

They are the mommies pushing their kids in running strollers to get their training in, they are the Dads running on their lunch hours.  They are crawling out of bed at 5am in the dark, on cold, snowy winter mornings, training their bodies and their minds.  They are sick, or injured, or tired, or busy, but they are committed to the run, they are driving towards their goal.  They are our heroes.

They are the children who covertly make signs to cheer and lift mom or dad at mile 25.  They are the grandparents, and siblings, and friends who babysit children on long run day, and then stand cheering for everyone at the sidelines so that they can see their beloved family member run by for 5 seconds.  They are the ones who's presence pulls us through when our bodies and minds are exhausted.  They are our heroes.

They are the race volunteers.  The ones who get paid nothing to make sure we have water, and gatorade.  The ones who hand out bananas and Clif Bars to exhausted and starving runners.  The ones who make race day possible.  The ones who pushed over barricades in Boston and ran towards the explosions to help others.  They are our heroes.

They are the runners like Team Hoyt.  Dick Hoyt, at age 71, has pushed his son Rick (now 51), who has cerebral palsy, for 31 Boston Marathons because after their first 5 mile race Rick told his dad "when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."  They are the runners like Brent Cunningham, a squeaker himself, who upon finding a crying young woman with a race number but no medal after the blasts, gave her his medal.  They are the runner at Around the Bay who stopped to offer me salt tablets thinking that I had cramped up when I stopped to stretch my hip.  They are our heroes.

This is why we feel so connected to this tragedy.  This is why we are grieving all that was lost in Boston on Monday.  These are our people, they are a part of our world-wide running family, they are our heroes.

Another Mother Runner


  1. "Look for the Helpers. You will always find people who are helping"-- Fred Rogers

    One of my new favourite quotes.


    1. The goodness that I have seen in all that I have watched and read about this far outweighs the evil. So many helpers.